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A Dialogue on the Simulation Interview with Dan Faggella: A Case for Responsible Stewardship – Article by Dinorah Delfin

A Dialogue on the Simulation Interview with Dan Faggella: A Case for Responsible Stewardship – Article by Dinorah Delfin

Dinorah Delfin


Voice by Terence McKenna

Last week I published an article, Programmatically Generated Everything – The Intelligence/Love Paradox” in response to an interview with Dan Faggella for Allen Saakyan’s Simulation series.

Dan’s thoughtful response to my article was highly stimulating as he was able to mindfully elaborate on, and critique my thoughts. So grateful for the opportunity to have this exchange of insights – Thank you!

Dan hypothesizes that human civilization might be heading towards a future subordinated by “substrate digital monopolies”, and as a result, becoming more disconnected from real human interactions, nature, and a truer sense of reality.

From this exchange, we expressed agreement on three fundamental areas:

1. A future controlled by substrate digital monopolies is one we don’t want, and therefore should mitigate.

2. We need to agree on a global set of values to enable responsible and sustainable technological development.

3. Emerging technologies such as virtual realities (VR), brain-computer interfaces or brain-machine interfaces (BMI), and artificial general intelligence (AGI) will benefit humanity and all sentient life, if used responsibly.

1. Predicting undesirable futures

For the record, this world of substrate monopolies is not something I hope for, strive for, or wish for. Rather, I consider it likely (read the full essay on the matter). It’s a hypothesis – and more than anything – a warning against a kind of power conflict that I fear. Such virtual worlds could be amazing and beneficial, but the conflict of controlling the substrate is a reality I foresee to be likely, not a reality I foresee to be preferable.” — Dan Faggella

Given our global market dynamics, sadly, substrate digital monopolies are likely to happen. The greater the disconnect between meaningful human interactions and nature, the longer we’ll perpetuate the destructive narcissism and lack of care driving society to an accelerating ecological and moral crisis. Could it be that a greater disconnect from a Truer sense Self and of Reality could put at odds the stability of all natural systems – including intelligent life itself?

Though I embrace the idea that we, technological creatures, have an inherent right to have full sovereignty over our individual evolution and senescence through the means of science and technologies, I’m also aware that many things can and will probably go wrong if we don’t properly educate ourselves or have the right policies in place.

How could we redirect the destructive forces of a global arms race for digital dominance towards instead a thriving technological era of creative and ecological flourishing? What would it take for market forces to adopt systems that are in service of all stakeholders?

By understanding where we come from – historically, biologically, and energetically – we will be better equipped at thinking and solving problems holistically and sustainably.

2. On the issue of context and values

During my years in Business School at Baruch College N.Y., a class that had the most impact on my education was “Social Entrepreneurship”.

As we become more dependent on automated processes, we ought to also device outlets for people to participate in Creative Processes that involve both the fulfillment of drives and pleasures and the accumulation of virtues and sound moral values. The better we are at mastering Self-Leadership, the better we will be at designing social systems that operate under the Highest Ethical Standards.

How can businesses and corporations profit from making the world a better place? How can we inspire young entrepreneurs to find True meaning in Life so that our drives and intentions are aligned with maintaining a more Harmonious Universal Ecosystem?

“Most of what we believe to be moral tenets and insights are contextual”, says Dan. I agree. It is a postmodern sensibility based on the universal natural principle of Relativism, which means, everything is essentially an opinion and nothing could be iron truth.

Some things are More truthful than others however, for example, when supported by empirical evidence. Context isn’t fixed. A set of values need not be static. (The USTP’s Bill of Rights, for example, is a living document which can be amended via votes by the U.S. Transhumanist Party members.) 

In response to last week’s article, fellow USTP Officer, Ryan Stevenson, shared the following observations:

“I’ve been thinking a lot about the issues you raise about the relationship between human intelligence/reason/technology and goodness recently, and what you’ve written here is really insightful. It seems that’s it’s rather easy to forget that technology isn’t a panacea, and there must be (as you put it) ‘humane’ intentions guiding its use.  

A number of the distinctions you put forward reminded me of an early Christian philosopher, Maximus the Confessor. Maximus was one of the first individuals in Western thought to grapple with the nature of technology and, unlike his fellow Christians, saw its potential for making human beings more human.  Obviously, his thought exists in a theistic context, but maybe Maximus belongs in our list of Transhumanist forebears. If you’re interested, here’s an article that touches on some of his philosophy dealing with techne…

I also support advocating for a proactive policy with regards to BMI and VR at international bodies like the UN.  Building a transorganizational coalition with other groups would be a good step forward – labor and time-intensive, but important and doable.  It would be great to get that conversation going.” 

Maximus the Confessor’s theistic approach to this early reference to critical and ethical Transhumanism is a compelling reminder that one of the most fundamental uses of technology is to help humans become More Humane. In this article, it is argued that technology is meant to assist us in “stewarding creation across the cosmos” and that the tradition of “natural law reasoning” can help “ground a global ethic for sustainable and integral development”.

Could natural law reasoning based on empirical evidence be a viable tool to articulate norms and ideas of universal understanding?

Growing up as a Christian, for example, I often wondered about the meaning of the “holy spirit”. Devoid of mythology, the concept is one of transition towards self-awareness – Ape-to-Human – the idea of “self” becoming apparent to “sinless” primates whose awareness might have increased from introducing bone marrow and mushrooms to their diet, leading to an miraculous evolutionary transition from fearful subjects of nature’s will, to responsible masters and designers of our individual and collective destiny. 

The un-learning of one’s convictions to exercise novelty and expanded new perspectives (the dissolution of limiting beliefs) is one of the most challenging of human endeavors, but the only way to true freedom and collective harmony.

3. Love and god as universal natural phenomena; not as romantic ideas of love, or a culture’s perception of a “moral” “entity”.

In an age of powerful technology, it becomes poignantly obvious that while a personal and social ethic remain necessary—albeit altered to reflect emerging understandings of personhood and relationality—they are also increasingly not sufficient. If as humanity, as one global culture, we are to order complex ecological changes effected through human (and possibly even non-human) agency and manipulation, natural law reasoning must be more profoundly cosmological. This implies, that natural law must consider as much as possible, the ‘total ecology’ in view of its finality as New Creation, but also our human obligation to steward the flourishing of creation in all its rich, inter-dependent diversity. This ultimately is what Laudato Sì calls for when it promotes an ‘ecological conversion’ for an authentic integral flourishing.” Nadia Delicata, “Homo Technologicus and the Recovery of a Universal Ethic: Maximus the Confessor and Romano Guardini”, 2018.

Concepts of Order and Chaos are as deeply ingrained in Quantum Mechanics as in Theological, or Natural Law, reasoning. Quantum theory suggests there are many dimensions to reality, and the Noosphere has been referred to as a natural phenomenon of “transhuman consciousness emerging from the interactions of human minds.”

Love exists in many forms as the inherent “sacred”/“intelligent” programming driving natural systems towards reproduction and survival. Positive feelings like joy, love, care, trust, or instinctual arousal and mating, for example, all produce chemical reactions and high vibrational frequencies in the brain, linked to growth and a strong immune system. Stress, depression, anxiety, which make the body sick and susceptible to degenerative diseases, are linked to lower vibrational brain frequencies.

While we envision a future where sentient life blooms into higher forms of understanding and expression, I believe it is safe to say that the Transhuman Era we desire is one that encourages humanity to be more caring and to think more holistically.

Dinorah Delfin is an Artist and the Director of Admissions and Public Relations for the U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party. 

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The Importance of an “Industrial Space Elevator” to Transhumanism and the “Futurist New Deal” Platform – Article by Nikolay Agapov

The Importance of an “Industrial Space Elevator” to Transhumanism and the “Futurist New Deal” Platform – Article by Nikolay Agapov

Nikolay Agapov


Editor’s Note: The U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party (USTP) publishes this article by Nikolay Agapov to advance the goals of Section XVII of the USTP Platform, which states that “The United States Transhumanist Party holds that present and future societies should take all reasonable measures to embrace and fund space travel, not only for the spirit of adventure and to gain knowledge by exploring the universe, but as an ultimate safeguard to its citizens and transhumanity should planet Earth become uninhabitable or be destroyed.” The construction of a highly economical infrastructure project such as the Agapov Orbital Lift would greatly reduce the costs of space travel and thus enable rapid exploration and development of space for the benefit of humankind and all sentient entities – thus also accelerating our transition into the next era of our civilization. As of this time, the USTP has not yet endorsed a Presidential candidate but welcomes activity from all of our Presidential Primary candidates to advance the USTP Platform. 

~ Gennady Stolyarov II, Chairman, United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party, June 23, 2019


This article is primarily about  the value to society of an industrial space elevator; which I believe could have already been built using a small fraction of the resources that have been spent on space tourism for a select few individuals.  But before we begin, I would like to take a moment to talk about how “Space Age” goals do correlate quite strongly with the goals of “Digital Democracy” and the strengthening of your middle class more generally, that are described in Mr. Johannon Ben Zion’s “Futurist New Deal” platform as a candidate seeking the Presidential nomination of the Transhumanist Party.  I have been previously described in an interview for this site as an “Open-Source Business Developer,” a term which is not a direct translation of the phrase that I used in the Russian interview, but it does describe this underlying commonality fairly well. By using “network technology” and allowing a larger group of peers to participate in the space industry, we’ll create a system that is making better use of the funds and resources that it has allocated and perhaps more importantly, one that can and will evolve as a matter of course to serve humankind.  

This open yet technocratic principle is also very well understood when it comes to more decentralized and more representative forms of government, and the funding of social programs that support the middle class, whether they are funded in the present day by largely public means or in the near-future by public-private partnerships.  

In a great many economies with post-industrial elements including Russia – although it is quite far from the strongest of economies – it is widely believed that the birth rate is “dangerously low.”  So much so that future generations of adults, working people, are said to have to provide for far too many retirees – the idea being that this can lead to an economic crisis. To avoid the crisis of an aging population, developed economies are actively attempting to assist young families.  In particular, the Russian government has provided many types of additional social services to young families that are not so widely available in the United States – for example, “Family Paid Leave”, “Universal Healthcare Services”, and other measures designed to encourage these vital family activities.  

I believe that concerns about “under-population” are not entirely rooted in reality; the main problem that people who fear this population bust express is that the population of older people or pensioners, is becoming much larger than the population of young people, and while in 20th-century technology terms that would lead to a shortage of labor, we now live in the 21st century.  Their fears do not take into account the ways in which all of our societies are moving towards full automation; a circumstance that is negating and will continue to negate these generational problems. However, the larger spirit and implementation of this partly fear-based set of policies is correct. Society and the economy flourish when people are free in their time and resources to pursue family life and small businesses; and these things are very strongly represented in the economic policies of the “Futurist New Deal”.

In Russia, the government is also concerned about a lack of human development and lower productivity.  At a recent open press conference, the Russian president announced a program for a sharp increase in overall labor productivity.  Achieving this rapid growth in production is possible only through a massive influx of small, private enterprises, but they must have a high level of automation and be able to quickly recoup the funds invested in them and develop rapidly both in quantitative and qualitative terms.  For this industries-wide sea-change to occur, you first need to create a conducive environment for all entrepreneurs. A democratization of laws and government is necessary for this purpose; but the Russian government in some ways continues to follow a strategy of rigid central planning and economic development through large state projects that have a high price and long implementation periods; this failing itself tends to make these modernization programs which are occurring under government control a rather dubious institution.

At the same time, Russia has a weak civil society and relatively low economic literacy, which do not foster developing entrepreneurial communities at the grassroots level – those not dependent on the government.  I think that developing decentralized production in Russia, as well as in many developing countries, is easier through collaboration with innovators in the United States. The first networks of decentralized industry are more likely to appear in the United States, Western Europe, and China.  After that, they will begin to transfer the rights to use their intellectual property worldwide, for a percentage of the profits. This is similar to the way 20th-century franchises have tended to work.  

Beginning to make these barest kinds of preparations for the economic health of a society, it is not so dissimilar from focusing on better and more discrete goals in the world of near-earth development.  Just as moving away from the rhetoric of “austerity” or nationalism allows you to identify problem areas more clearly, and correct them; the colonization of space by more collaborative efforts on the part of users – with more industrial and less fanciful goals in mind – will be a truly great boon to humankind.

I have begun to create social networks such as my “People of the Space-Era” and various working groups to this end; and I hope that the people of the U.S. Transhumanist Party, perhaps one of the most technologically literate cohorts in the world, will see and promote the value of this “open-source” approach.

Imagine if a new continent here on Earth were discovered and, rather than create trade networks  with that continent, those responsible for dealings with this new land opted to take a lot of “selfies” there instead – and do little else. As the public, you might rightly ask yourselves when it would be an appropriate time to begin to engage in more practical expeditions.  The simple fact is that an information society, any post-industrial society should be making better use of our connectivity and our technology than we are.

 When the first flights into space began, people enthusiastically waited for the first experiments to be followed up by larger-scale developments or innovations, such as those aimed at the practical and permanent venture into space by our species; and all the while hoping for inexpensive reusable rockets, or these fundamentally different ”rocketless” means of space transport to be developed. They waited with bated breath for the first extraterrestrial technological centers to be built, and after them the first extraterrestrial industrial enterprises should have surely followed.  People waited for humanity to start taking real steps towards becoming a space civilization. Sadly the nation-states concerned used their astronauts only to maintain their standing in public opinion, and these state space programs remained at an earlier stage of research and experimentation.

If our society wants to move into the Space Age, it is time for all of us to take the initiative. Team up to work on new global programs such as the development of new industries based on digital production, consisting of miniature factories capable of making their own replacements to accelerate industrial growth on Earth.  And later, in space, such micro-factories will themselves “multiply”, and build an array of near-earth industrial infrastructure, without the onerous costs associated with high-speed travel, operating on principles of development and economic efficiency. Today it is possible to develop on Earth the beginnings of a society on a truly cosmic scale, through the tenacity of many of you space-travel-minded people. These ways of thinking and ultimately this way of life must be adapted to the conditions of a functional space civilization, not tailored to narrower nationalistic or “creative” ends. The most innovative supporters of space expansion must take on these roles as coordinators to create earth-based industrial and entrepreneurial networks vital to this development of new programs for the industrialization of space.

Such initiative would lead to far broader and more robust sets of satellites which would improve the experiences of today’s device and IOT (Internet of Things) users and revolutionize this sadly untapped field of solar energy – which is inexhaustible and eco-friendly.  The development of cosmic mineral resources, the most valuable of these being precious metals and rare earth elements will be supplied to earth with ease. Perhaps of less value, but still market-changing, those many resources that serve in the construction of consumer orbital enterprises and transport systems, and of course the more widespread industrial use of 3-D printing, minimizing the need for expensive cargo delivery from the ground, will become more commonplace in near-earth and earthbound building.

It is indeed possible to suppose that a decentralized civil society which is still overseen by “good-faith” public coordinators could also actively prepare better for the colonization of space than we are preparing today.  For this to happen, the participation of nation-states directly is not needed, and even large capital investments would not be absolutely required; the network world of agile “citizen scientists” itself will become the best source of capital and resources. We need only initiative and personal energy to move past these 20th-century constraints.

One of the projects of these new  rocketless transport systems, which I propose that we implement, is the “Agapov Orbital Lift” (A.O.L.).   The A.O.L. is a simplified version of the space elevator which will remain in geosynchronous orbit but  will not be secured to the ground by a tether. This design is relied upon, as it is far more effective than the “Stationary Space Elevator” which has a cable that reaches the earth.  For the A.O.L. to work, there is a need for some rocketry, as the lower end of the cable will fly above the ground at a height of low orbit, but at a speed below the earth escape velocity of today’s rockets, at 1 – 3 kilometers per second. The A.O.L, unlike competitor lifts, will be able to immediately give us tremendous breakthroughs in the modernization of space transport.  This project is technically feasible since the earth connection cable is not needed, and so additional materials science innovations such as nanotubes or graphene tape need not be made a contingency of the first-generation A.O.L. Suffice it to say that materials such as carbon fiber, “Kevlar,” “Vectran,” or other polyethylene materials of a high degree of polymerization will be strong enough to suit these ends.  These existing materials-science innovations are already wholly mastered by industrial producers, are widely commercially available, and have a cost that is not exorbitantly high for near-earth development.

Waiting for one particular breakthrough is just not worth it when high-strength materials of many kinds are constantly being produced and improved upon, and as we mentioned at some length in our interview, the A.O.L. will also be upgraded many times in the course of its productive life. At certain intervals, older tethers, battered by space debris, will need to be replaced with newer, stronger, and longer ones made with more durable materials. And so, in the course of operation, the A.O.L. system of lifts will in short order be transformed into a stationary one, an achievement which itself would allow for the complete abandonment of missiles in near-earth travel.

The counterweight to the A.O.L. will be the International Space Station (ISS), as its life as a space-science laboratory comes to an end. And as part of the elevator, the station will be able to continue its multifaceted work in an exciting new capacity as a component of a revolutionary transport system. The ISS as counterweight to the elevator would be an appropriation of 100 billion dollars in existing space infrastructure, and its use will couple state space agencies with private firms in a timeless public-private partnership.  In addition, the ISS as part of the orbital elevator will be able to work as a technological platform for mounting satellites and various useful space objects, from relatively light payloads delivered to it by cables from suborbital flight. In doing so we will be responsible for the beginning of true space production.

In my previous interview with Presidential candidate Johannon Ben Zion, we discussed a figure of between 100 and 500 million dollars for the building of a first-generation, highly-automated industrial space elevator.   I understand that many of your readers are skeptical of this design and these figures, and at the risk of repeating myself from earlier in this article, I will say here again what I did not say in that shorter interview published June 12th, which is that the success of such a project could hinge on the “network effects,” the user-generated efforts in numerous interworking systems of networked organizations which are capable of consolidating the work product of industrial enterprises and small entrepreneurs on earth for the implementation of large-scale programs for the industrialization of space.  We must spearhead this construction ourselves in order to turn the entire world industry into a springboard for the colonization of the solar system and not limit this to individual government agencies or scattered and not fully realized private space firms. In short, on this quality of being “Open-Source”, which is again not the exact wording that I preferred to use in the original Russian interview, that phrasing certainly does get to the heart of the way in which this kind of effort should be different from previous private or public space-faring attempts.

Even in the weeks since that interview was conducted, new discoveries of underground resources on the Moon have been made, I believe that had previous lunar expeditions been more focused on making use of these resources, we would already have the industrial infrastructure between our planet and our Moon to be safely excavating these kinds of materials.

It would be unfair to describe private space industry as unconcerned with these improvements; incredible breakthroughs have been made in recent decades toward streamlining space-faring processes, making them cheaper and cleaner.  That said, I believe that almost all of the people working in this business have a fixation with rockets and an almost total lack of interest in the equally practical transport systems that I have described. If these engineers really believe that the focus of space travel is to stick pretty flags in piles of dirt, or engage in publicity stunts where people who are famous solely for being wealthy celebrate their success by enjoying zero gravity for a few hours – my advice is that they should pursue another line of work because these “accomplishments” are not of such great value as we have been led to believe.

My design for a space elevator is meant to be a transition, using the existing infrastructure now in low-earth orbit to create a lift system capable of slow but steady industrial growth – within 3 to 5 years – using the kinds of robotics that industry has taken for granted for a few decades.  To achieve this some adjustments will need to be made to the International Space Station so that its orbit is better positioned to support this lift system. When you consider the hundred or more billion dollars that have been spent on space stations which are now decommissioned, and I would argue have always been underutilized, the choice not to build a space elevator from them seems to me, frankly, a silly one.  The very important point in this design, which I have already iterated but that was sadly not included in the truncated first interview, is that this spacelift will not reach completely to Earth, and vehicles will be required to shuttle payloads up to that point. But as the cost of operating these vehicles will be much lower – as the high speeds required of rockets today to escape Earth’s gravity will not be necessary, the A.O.L. will nonetheless be of great value to industry.

There is no question in my mind that this tether design, which incorporates a few different interworking ultra-strong polymer blends, all of which are currently in widespread industrial use, will suffice for our materials needs.  And I should point out once again, and it has been said many times before, that by first constructing this industrial lift, we will then very soon be able to build out its infrastructure and create parallel lift structures that will quickly improve industrial, and presumably consumer, uses.

With greater interest after significant return on investment from these industrial undertakings, we will very quickly see that this initial design was well worth the effort. I hope that the lack of focus on space tourism in our first-generation A.O.L. design will be seen by potential investors as an asset to both consumers and industry in the long-term.

It is not just nostalgia for my youth that drives my interest in this repurposing of existing space infrastructure like the International Space Station; we should give the ISS a second life; this is the best way to continue the work begun by those 20th-century visionaries who first sought to propel our civilization beyond our atmosphere. These state-sponsored space administrations and the public-private partnerships which today exist in service to space travel and research are not enough to undertake this repurposing.  We need our “open-source” public efforts to become a kind of popular fascination, like the one seen in the 1950s “space race.” However, even the number of users currently contributing to the SETI app would be an excellent start to collaborative design and build efforts that would benefit our repurposing and tether-building efforts.

Such seeds of public fascination in an enterprise can direct public initiatives, both investment and intellectual capital into enterprises no less interesting and potentially far more vital than the some of the mechanisms of today’s Silicon Valley-style capitalism. Furthermore, this will give us a new arena for the development of information technology businesses in conjunction with these new generations of networks and satellite communications, which will make high-speed Internet far more accessible to the entire planet and will overwhelmingly strengthen the global information space of mankind, moving global civilization ever closer to the realization of a true “noosphere.”

Finally, I would reiterate that the focus on the cost of an industrial space lift should not be on the hundreds of millions of dollars in the initial outlay – but rather on the many trillions of dollars that could be generated by making this bold step. The A.O.L. transport infrastructure will confer great economic effects by the creation of a global industry in near-earth development; and just as on land, where railways and ports do not always bring the largest of profits, yet they do underpin the life of entirely greater industries and regions, so will millions of inhabitants benefit by industries developing out into the many hundreds of billions of dollars.

I hope that you will all leave this conversation with a somewhat clearer idea of the purpose and design of my industrial space lift, the “Agapov Orbital Lift”, and as well will consider endorsing Mr. Ben Zion and the “Futurist New Deal;” I believe that the architects of this plan truly do have your best interests as techno-optimists at heart.

Editor’s Note: The U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party (USTP) has not yet, as of this publication, endorsed a candidate for U.S. President. Therefore, the statement in the last sentence above by Mr. Agapov should be considered to be his personal opinion only at this time. Readers can view the profiles of all USTP Presidential Primary candidates and make informed decisions regarding which candidate(s) and which of their proposals to support. 

Open-Source Business Developer Nikolay Agapov and Transhumanist Party Presidential Primary Candidate Johannon Ben Zion In Conversation: On Near-Earth/Space Development, the Orbital Ring, and the Design for the Agapov Orbital Lift

Open-Source Business Developer Nikolay Agapov and Transhumanist Party Presidential Primary Candidate Johannon Ben Zion In Conversation: On Near-Earth/Space Development, the Orbital Ring, and the Design for the Agapov Orbital Lift

Nikolay Agapov
Johannon Ben Zion


Editor’s Note: The U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party (USTP) publishes this interview between Johannon Ben Zion and Nikolay Agapov to advance the goals of Section XVII of the USTP Platform, which states that “The United States Transhumanist Party holds that present and future societies should take all reasonable measures to embrace and fund space travel, not only for the spirit of adventure and to gain knowledge by exploring the universe, but as an ultimate safeguard to its citizens and transhumanity should planet Earth become uninhabitable or be destroyed.” The construction of a highly economical infrastructure project such as the Agapov Orbital Lift would greatly reduce the costs of space travel and thus enable rapid exploration and development of space for the benefit of humankind and all sentient entities – thus also accelerating our transition into the next era of our civilization. As of this time, the USTP has not yet endorsed a Presidential candidate but welcomes activity from all of our Presidential Primary candidates to advance the USTP Platform. 

~ Gennady Stolyarov II, Chairman, United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party, June 11, 2019

Read the English-language outline for the Agapov Orbital Lift, written by Nikolay Agapov, here

Johannon Ben Zion:  We live in different countries; we’ve never met!  Should we talk about how we met?

Nikolay Agapov:  Yes, Ben, having heard of your Arizona Transhumanist Party‘s “Orbital Ring” publicity push, I felt I would have been remiss if I didn’t reach out to the Arizona Transhumanist Party and your U.S.  Presidential candidacy with the Transhumanist Party, and offer to make a comparison and further study of the respective designs, my team’s included.  I like to tell people that I am an “open-source” business developer in this context, and an avid supporter of the near-earth industrialization, in contrast to “pure exploration.”

I principally come from an educational background in economics with a specialization in business administration. I have made an extensive study of the global economic environment in the course of my international business studies and striven to understand and emulate the careers and novel methods of innovators like Henry Ford and Steve Jobs.

I have always been interested in the topic of space exploration and in the process of studying at the university, I began to develop extensive plans for near-earth industrialization with the relatively smaller-budgeted space agencies in mind, as Roscosmos now has, and also a focus on high attractiveness to investors.

In addition, I have often written of as well as developed several designs in the field of solid-fuel rocket engines.  Making solid propellant rockets cheaper and more environmentally friendly with the ability to raise their efficiency to the level of liquid engines has been a central focus of my work.

After writing and developing in these areas for quite some time, I am convinced that space agencies and businesses are not nearly focused enough on outcomes or growth, which is why I have become an “open-source” business developer; network effects and “crowd-sourcing” effects in research and development must be better utilized if we are to quicken the pace of technological advancement.

The main goal of space businesses and agencies is the development of civilizational impacts of space-faring, the transition of humanity to the level of a true space-faring civilization. And all smaller projects should be viewed as merely steps to this larger goal.

It is not so much of an overstatement to say that modern space administrations in fact remain mechanisms of the state-run propaganda that arose during the period of escalation during the Cold War. Their goal is to maintain a certain prestige and visibility, through periodic campaigns and in the launching of scientific probes, etc.  A “Space Age cynic” such as myself will view many of these endeavors as not always directly contributing to the aforementioned “transition to a space-faring civilization.” As for the real, practical, space exploration, they have no idea how to develop it and do not strive for it.

As a result, I have completely updated my approaches to the industrialization of space, in the form of more networked or “crowdsourcing-ready” businesses and more results-oriented public agencies.  Since I’ve read more recently of your “Futurist New Deal”, I do hope that you will continue your commitment to near-earth industrialization as we first discussed.

JBZ: Well, yes, we absolutely will.  Although our campaign is focused on domestic economic  policy and e-governance issues now, all of our near-term undertakings are intended to set the stage for your “transition to a space-faring civilization,” or a true post-industrial society more broadly.

Nikolay Agapov: My team has our own approaches to the development of space expansion and the end goal, the preparation for the colonization of space, a goal I believe best achieved through the creation of a permanent transportation system to our nearest neighbor, the Moon.  The more than one trillion dollars that have been spent in the pursuit of space travel have not had this focus, been a rather poor use of funds, with a somewhat disappointing result all told.   I believe that you yourself told me in our first conversation that the efforts of your space agency [NASA] were “the most expensive PR campaign.”

JBZ: Yes, I said, “The most expensive PR campaign in history” and basically one with surprisingly little focus on tangible production outcomes, a concern I share with you. A popular, if a little operatic view of the history of NASA is one to which I do subscribe to a certain degree myself, at least in principle.  It’s a distrustful sentiment that really gets to the heart of most of this confused thinking on the NASA subject in a roundabout sort of way; the NASA “conspiracy theories” are largely rooted, I believe, in this feeling that this whole operation was a “Cold War” publicity stunt – a very expensive one – that didn’t “build” much of anything, in structural engineering terms at least –  although it contributed to the production of any number of groundbreaking technological breakthroughs argued for in hindsight as justification of the expense, and quite rightly argued considering the impact of those things – in spite of the lack of interest in “near-earth industrialization” by the parties in question.

Nikolay Agapov:   I would say that the “Space Age” tropes that both derived from and guided these somewhat odd goals have themselves become codified, leading to impractical implementations (or as we’ve suggested above, a lack thereof) and also a “monoculture,” where what began as nebulous goals, have become codified by science-fiction fanatics, films, and television – so that all interest, popular or industrial, is centering on rockets and journeys beyond our sphere which are very exciting – but a little ineffable as to their purpose relative to the building of things.

JBZ: Most of us at the Transhumanist Party are believers in technocratic solutions, even some beyond the 20th-century or early post-industrial models of today – and I am one of those. The principles of technocracy and automation-centered policy making would do quite a bit to solve these problems in private and public space initiatives.

Nikolay Agapov: Modernized countries share a technocratic approach to their organization.

JBZ: Yes, it’s odd to me that so many in the USA  view technocracy as an ugly word.  I regard myself (and all those involved in the “Futurist New Deal” do as well) as an “economic populist”, but I view this tendency to criticize technocracy as something to be viewed with skepticism, a “false populist phenomenon,” that derives from what is sometimes called in the USA “know-nothing”-ism, a set of anti-science and low-information cultural values that poison, well, many, if not most, earnest efforts in public policy and the ordering of a civil society.  

Nikolay Agapov:  Yes, and your “futurists” would be doing the right thing in trying to counteract this other failing in thinking about technology and progress.

JBZ: How expensive would your space elevator be?  What’s the cost of the most expensive or extravagant elevator or orbital ring you’d like to build, since I know we’ve discussed a few with cost in mind?

Nikolay Agapov: Incorporating the existing but non-operational space stations described in my prospectus into the design, using a tether with a specialized design using Kevlar, carbon fiber,  or polyethylene materials designs that could sustain the tether and a series of relatively small additional payloads, a little smaller than a human at first – as I’ve described in our prospectus.

JBZ: Yes, I was imagining a bunch of little “Roombas” scooting up there to the space station to then be boosted off to the moon and do some work.

Nikolay Agapov:  Yes, these types of remotely controlled or semi-autonomous devices should be among the easier parts of our “work order” to fulfill.  And as the system is judged to be stable, more tethers would be built, a number of these which are stable would perhaps allow for very low-cost space tourism, travel from Earth to the space station in a matter of days at that time shortly after the initial stabilization of the tether, but it is quite likely that other materials designs for tethers would be required, delaying the tourism part, which I regard as the smallest part of this undertaking compared to getting “robots” out in earth’s orbit fixing and building existing and new infrastructure, respectively, and traveling on to do so on the Moon as well.  

Using materials costs from the Eurasian markets and including the estimates of existing but underutilized space infrastructure and present-day tether materials (despite their payload limitations), I would put the total costs at 100 – 500 million dollars.  This 500% variation in costs would be due to the uncertain nature of building in orbit and the problems with constructing and maintaining the tether, as well as market uncertainties for the materials needed.

JBZ: That’s 100-500 million right?  Millions, 1 and six zeroes, 1,000,000? Is that what you are saying?

Nikolay Agapov: Yes.

JBZ: That’s many billions of dollars lower than any of the prospecti I’ve seen, some of which push up to a trillion dollars.

Nikolay Agapov:  Building systems for space tourism would be a lot more than a few hundred million dollars, as those systems are built and rebuilt to higher standards, but by that time there will occur an immense economic impact from making better use of building in orbit or on the Moon and the ways that they would impact existing markets, with cheaper and better satellites, new energy developments in solar and other renewable energies, and the appeal and benefits of industrializing in earth’s orbit and on the moon. As a result, those significant added costs for stronger elevators would be happily undertaken by those industries.

JBZ: I am still a little taken aback with this “low” budget.   That is a number that Elon Musk, Peter Diamandis, or many of these guys could fund based on their companies’ valuations just by diverting some portion of funds from other space companies.

Nikolay Agapov:  Maybe. Your question about the most expensive project I can think of – I don’t think is a serious one.  The “most expensive design” is to continue building rockets if operating cost and environmental impact are no concern.  

JBZ: Fair enough. Your prospectus states that you could have this design completed and financially self-sustaining in 3-5 years. Do you stand by that?

Nikolay Agapov:  Yes and no.  If the project was fully funded and international cooperation and many other political factors were dealt with independently – then yes, absolutely.  I think that the cooperation of U.S. and Russian space agencies and associated corporations and entities may be enough to accomplish this.

JBZ: It would take a mighty fine group of statesmen and women to accomplish such a thing.

Nikolay Agapov:  Maybe, maybe not.

JBZ: If such a project could be built so cheaply, why hasn’t it been done yet?

Nikolay Agapov:  I would answer “politics” more than “design”, but I would also include with that concern, the lack of motivation and the focus on these “popular imagination” and “sci-fi-genre media-driven” goals we spoke of, resulting in the “rich guys with big rockets” and tourism over industrialization.  Industry is a more controversial design principle because it is perceived as being more “invasive” or “less ecological”, although in practice the opposite is true; rockets have been and still are much worse.  Irony.

JBZ:  The design like the one that I had been sharing with others was to build out an entirely new orbital ring with a “PBO”, also known as  “Zylon” tether and with a $10 billion total price tag.  That’s the “Low Cost Design for an Orbital Ring” by California engineer David Nelson, I believe, and published July of 2017.  I should say it’s possible he’s a bit of a shy character; after a few attempts I’ve not been able to actually identify him (his writing has been republished, and Dave Nelson is an extremely common name in the U.S.) nor contact him for comment.  It’s also a design that requires a 10-plus-year build timeline.

Nikolay Agapov:  I’ve read all about this design, and he’s done a lot of good work, but I think we can do a lot better with a smaller, more industry-focused orbital ring.  The option of using the decommissioned space station as a counterweight is a major selling point for us, but it, too, requires international and national politicking, as well as the business acumen of my organization and other private space companies.

JBZ:  Therein lies the rub, but it starts with getting people excited and having these conversations outside of the typical bluster of these discussions as nationalistic or symbolic endeavors.  If I had 100 million dollars, I would be investing that money into this today, and to that end  I hope we can link to your outline at least, for our readers, here.

Nikolay Agapov:  Yes, that is fine, but bear in mind the full prospectus is written in Russian, and this outline of concepts was also written in English, but there remain a few proofreading concerns, so please be patient.  This outline at the time of its publication had not had the benefit of a translator, as this interview has.

JBZ: But feel free to comment and discuss with us,;we will be happy to engage with you. The function of such a thing is to answer questions and bring in new ideas and hopefully get a working space elevator built soon.

Nikolay Agapov:  Yes, thank you for your time.

 

Blockchains Instead of Beggars: Could Cryptocurrencies Unleash Universal Basic Income? – Article by Nicole Sallak Anderson

Blockchains Instead of Beggars: Could Cryptocurrencies Unleash Universal Basic Income? – Article by Nicole Sallak Anderson

Nicole Sallak Anderson


Editor’s Note: The U.S. Transhumanist Party features this article by Nicole Sallak Anderson as part of our ongoing integration with the Transhuman Party. This article posits a creative approach toward fulfilling one of the U.S. Transhumanist Party’s objectives – the achievement of a Universal Basic Income (which is advocated for in our Platform and in the Transhumanist Bill of Rights, Version 3.0). We advocate a wide variety of emerging technologies, including cryptocurrencies, as well, and we endeavor to contemplate ways in which such technologies can solve deep-rooted societal problems by altering people’s incentives, hopefully in positive directions. This article was written in February 2018, just past the peak of the cryptocurrency bubble, but it looks beyond that bubble and envisions more sustainable functions for cryptocurrencies beyond speculation – for instance, achieving the goal of providing a basic income and integrating activities that create external value in the community with rewards for the individuals who engage in such activities. We continue to encourage our members to contemplate possibilities for implementing a Universal Basic Income in realistic ways that would harness new technologies for incremental progress toward the goal and would not require revolutionizing the entire world at once. 

~ Gennady Stolyarov II, Chairman, United States Transhumanist Party, January 6, 2019


Cryptocurrencies are America’s latest capitalist playthings—from Bitcoin’s Christmas surprise of over $14K per coin, to the Bitcoin Cash fork of August 2017 and BitFury’s success in negotiating blockchain contracts in both Georgia and Dubai, cryptocurrencies, and the technology that powers them, went from being anarchists’ obscure hobby to the latest shiny object that the financial markets are drooling over. While cryptocurrencies are still a ways off from becoming actual currencies that can be used to exchange goods, they have proven to be valuable assets in today’s markets. Moreover, the blockchain technology that underpins said currencies has begun to gain momentum as an advanced application for the encryption and storage of data. Many see it as the natural evolution in the digital age.

For those of you who don’t know what blockchain technology is read here, or if you’re interested in cryptocurrencies in general, read here. People much savvier than I can teach you the technical details. Today I want to discuss practical implementations.

In the past two years, cryptocurrencies have made a lot of young people, and already rich old people, very rich. Cryptocoins and blockchain applications are the latest innovation to encourage the American rags-to-riches mythos, and I don’t see their bubbles popping anytime soon. Yet is seems like all of this is creating just another set of 1% who are wealthy, while most miss the boat completely, and this is the complete opposite of what many of the early adopters had envisioned—rather than creating a new cryptoclass, the blockchain was supposed to emancipate humanity.

This has me thinking…how could blockchain technology be used to create currencies that support a universal income? I’ve written before about universal basic income, from both a practical perspective and a feminist perspective. Most people argue there isn’t enough money out there to create a sustainable world where everyone is fed. I’ve long called bulls**t on this. Technologically we can now feed the world, so what’s holding us back? The food can be farmed in labs and it can be distributed to the most remote locations on Earth. Why then, does much of it rot in holding areas? Or never even get planted, while children die of starvation in our streets? Even in America, child poverty is rising with 30.4 million children daily in our country using the National School Lunch Program in their schools.

To me, the growing poverty in the “Land of Opportunity” is a universal lack of love on every citizen’s part, not a money problem. However, if everyone’s convinced that there aren’t enough American dollars to go around so that we can guarantee housing, food, and clothing to our fellow brothers and sisters, then perhaps it’s time to make more money, and not the kind you can hold in your wallet.

The way to create a new economy based on care and commonwealth may be to create a new currency with community as its only goal, rather than profit and greed, and what better way to do this than with a cryptocurrency? Why not build a crypto-token that is secure, hard to hack and trackable, whose purpose was to provide liquid resources to the most vulnerable members of society?

This last feature – traceability – is very important.  In principle it would be a clear advantage over fiat currency welfare systems, since the cash economy is only partially measurable in terms of mapping demographic groups to purchase/usage patterns. For fun, let’s call the new currency, LifeCoin, created not to get a bunch of miners and traders rich, but instead to be shared from person to person, growing as we all grow in wealth, a true peer-to-peer network both technically and socially.

A currency whose aim is to provide a universal basic income would need to have the following properties:

1)      It would need to be easily distributed to all citizens in the network 18 and over. Thus, a wallet that accepted LifeCoin, identifiable by the currency platform would need to be created.

2)      It would need to be accepted by all businesses that provide shelter (banks, landlords, etc.), food, clothing and healthcare. Thus a networked payment system that accepted LifeCoin and linked up to user’s wallets would need to be created. It needs to be seamless and provide incentives to services providers for honoring the LifeCoins as currency, thus the traditional fee structures in place for money exchange would need adjustment.

3)      It would need the ability to be changed into other currencies at the owner’s discretion. Thus the LifeCoin would need to be accepted on a decent number of exchanges.

This is a minimum list of technological needs, but at its most basic, a currency needs to be able to flow throughout the society if it’s going to be a true universal basic income solution.

Essentially there are two ways the LifeCoin could be created, either by the government, or by us, the citizens in an act of goodwill.

How could a government create and issue LifeCoin responsibly? There are probably many answers to this, but I think LifeCoin could be implemented by local governments that are looking to use blockchain technologies to manage and secure their data. Governments collect more than taxes, they’ve long been keeping track of our data, such as births, deaths, marriages, land titles, county employee information, driver’s license information, school information, health information and even voting registration and ballots. All of this information needs to be managed, and many governments are starting to consider using blockchain technology to do just that. Take the country of Georgia, who has uploaded over 100,000 land titles to a blockchain network created by BitFury. They have decided that using blockchain smart contracts will help them prove land ownership as Russia slowly begins to occupy more and more of their land. Dubai has also decided to use the Ethereum architecture to manage its data and bring their country into the 21st century.

Many other countries have taken notice. In Haiti, for example, after the earthquake in 2010, the first building to fall into ruin was the building that held all of their public records. In seconds, all the paperwork that documented who owned what land was gone. My own town of Santa Cruz, CA, is always under earthquake threat, could moving their local government data to a blockchain system help them in the long run? Of course it can.

Money will be saved by adopting these new technologies for data management. According to an article in August 2017, the government of Dubai expects to, “Reduce the cost of document processing by billions of dollars through eliminating manual processing of residencies, passport documentation and visas through a partnership with ConsenSys.

Billions of dollars, eh? And what to do with those savings? Why not redistribute them back into the community as a universal basic income? This can be done by tokenizing the endeavor, and backing the initial release of the coins with the savings the governmental entity receives.

As governments begin to implement various blockchain schemes to manage their data it is the ideal moment for them to tokenize the blockchain ledger they’re creating and distribute those tokens to their citizens as a universal basic income.

Consider Santa Cruz. Recently named the fourth most expensive place to live in the nation, it is estimated that our cost of living is 81% higher than the national average and our housing costs are 208% higher than the national average. When I drive down the street near town, I see tents nestled in along the highway, back near the fences and hidden in tall grasses. At night, when you pass our city hall, the courtyard is filled with people in sleeping bags, trying to find a place to sleep. Beggars line our downtown mall. Truly if any town needed a universal basic income, it’s ours.

Perhaps UBI begins at home with our local city council opting to invest in building a blockchain ledger using Ethereum to manage all contracts regarding land in the county as well as all legal documentation and contracts stored in the courthouse. The project includes tokens that are backed by the city at first with the monies annually saved by efficiently managing and securing their data. These tokens are distributed evenly to every citizen over 18 on a monthly basis.

As time goes on, more data can be added to the ledger and with each savings by switching from the manual handling of the data to digital networks doing the job, that money is used to issue new coins to citizens. The basic income could start at one number, say $500/month with the intention of growing to a final amount that can sustain a human being within the county.

In addition, more tokens are created as incentives to encourage people to enter the system as miners to help maintain the ledger. This is the decentralization aspect, the data is stored across hundreds of servers rather than just one. Thus everyone gets a set amount, but those who mine create more coins that they can use to purchase items in the community, or trade on the exchange, thus increasing the value of the tokens. Tokens can also be given to businesses as a means of encouraging them to accept LifeCoin as payment for their goods and services. With time, the currency spreads throughout the city and county, and as a result is accepted at more and more locations. None of this is because we “took” money from somewhere else. Using blockchain technologies, money was freed up to invest in a new currency, one that exists for the sole purpose of providing a living to our citizens.

Now, this is a very basic sketch of the system, and one I’m not able to complete. I’m merely putting it out there as something to debate and discuss, with the hopes that minds much more crypto than mine can see that their work has this potential. And perhaps to get the political dialogue rolling. This has to start somewhere and we can’t wait for our federal government to help. I also realize that as with any monetary system, cryptocurrencies may not be able to address the potential inflation and deflation associated with a universal basic income.

My good friend and fellow Medium writer, John Eden, put it perfectly:

“My view is that the real worry about crypto-powered UBI has nothing to do with the power of the blockchain from a tech POV.  The problem is that any economic system with a fixed or variable amount of tokens can and will experience inflation and deflation.  To me, this basic economic fact can’t in any way to neutralized by blockchain.  The implication of this is that the token one designs for UBI must be created in partnership with some pretty thoughtful economists so that a method of adjusting the value of the token relative to the wider economy is built into the token infrastructure.  After all, you don’t want to create LifeCoin only to see inflation ruin it’s core purpose – i.e., giving the most vulnerable members of society the ability to live a decent life.”

I’m not sure where we’d find those thoughtful economists. Can our local governments implement a token system to help the poor while keeping in mind the long term economic monetary policy goals? The blockchain might not save us from this issue, but the currency created can be set up with a new set of rules than our regular fiat, especially since it would be it’s own new market, individualized at the local level. We’ve been manipulating the markets forever, is it any different for a township to create it’s own currency to establish a standard of living?

We could also leave the government out of this and instead take responsibility as private citizens, creating a universal reward token ourselves. Private citizens can create a coin that is then given to those who need it. This work has already begun. GrantCoin was established in 2015 with the intent of providing a UBI to those who meet their criteria. However, this feels more like charitable handouts than a true UBI, for it’s still based on need, which requires judgement by a group of people who get to determine whether or not you really need it. Universal Basic Income is not only about providing the basics to all in a world of plenty, it’s also about freeing us from the judgments of others. We all receive a universal basic income, that’s what makes it universal, and we’re trusted to do what we should with it. Still, GrantCoin is a good start.

Another idea that caught my eye was the concept of gamifying cryptocurrencies as a means of deploying them. In an incredibly passionate plea to save cryptocurrencies from big business, author Daniel Jeffries writes,

By gamifying money distribution, we spread it far and wide across the playing field, as fast as possible, and guarantee that the system becomes viable. We bootstrap the system from banana republic to global powerhouse. That will bring powerful economic players into the system, who will then be incentivized to protect it and expand it.

If we move swiftly, we can unleash the true power of the blockchain to unlock the frozen reserves of human potential, rise from the ashes of our crumbling political systems and rocket into a whole new level of economic potential and development.”

He goes on to explain how by using a killer gaming app along with a universal reward token, one could possibly build a cryptocurrency that is completely decentralized with the possibility to not only fund life, but allow the movement to build into smart contracts and other aspects of civilization. Instead of the government initiating the move to the blockchain, private citizens do it for each other, via games so fun to play, we play them for a living. His article is a worthy read if this sort of idea floats your boat.

This may seem a bit pie in the sky, and on some level it is, but when thinking about the future of money we have the ability to write a whole new story, so why not base it upon joy and games?

Regardless, as financial firms explore the possibilities that platforms like Ethereum bring, it may benefit us to begin to probe our local governments into doing the same. However, instead of keeping the profits for themselves, they could the adventure to create new systems of money that promote life and health for all citizens.

Nicole Sallak Anderson is Computer Science graduate from Purdue University, and former CTO for a small Silicon Valley startup, turned novelist and blogger, focusing on the intersection of technology and consciousness. In addition to rebooting her eHuman series, she recently sold a historical fantasy trilogy about the Great Egyptian Revolt of 200 B.C. She currently lives in the beautiful Santa Cruz Mountains in California with her husband and teen-aged sons, where she raises goats and bees. She enjoys spinning, knitting, playing the bass, and dancing, particularly the tango. Visit her blog at eHumanity: The Intersection of Consciousness and Technology

The Singularity: Fact or Fiction or Somewhere In-Between? – Article by Gareth John

The Singularity: Fact or Fiction or Somewhere In-Between? – Article by Gareth John

Gareth John


Editor’s Note: The U.S. Transhumanist Party features this article by our member Gareth John, originally published by IEET on January 13, 2016, as part of our ongoing integration with the Transhuman Party. This article raises various perspectives about the idea of technological Singularity and asks readers to offer their perspectives regarding how plausible the Singularity narrative, especially as articulated by Ray Kurzweil, is. The U.S. Transhumanist Party welcomes such deliberations and assessments of where technological progress may be taking our species and how rapid such progress might be – as well as how subject to human influence and socio-cultural factors technological progress is, and whether a technological Singularity would be characterized predominantly by benefits or by risks to humankind. The article by Mr. John is a valuable contribution to the consideration of such important questions.

~ Gennady Stolyarov II, Chairman, United States Transhumanist Party, January 2, 2019


In my continued striving to disprove the theorem that there’s no such thing as a stupid question, I shall now proceed to ask one. What’s the consensus on Ray Kurzweil’s position concerning the coming Singularity? [1] Do you as transhumanists accept his premise and timeline, or do you feel that a) it’s a fiction, or b) it’s a reality but not one that’s going to arrive anytime soon? Is it as inevitable as Kurzweil suggests, or is it simply millenarian daydreaming in line with the coming Rapture?

According to Wikipedia (yes, I know, but I’m learning as I go along), the first use of the term ‘singularity’ in this context was made by Stanislav Ulam in his 1958 obituary for John von Neumann, in which he mentioned a conversation with von Neumann about the ‘ever accelerating progress of technology and changes in the mode of human life, which gives the appearance of approaching some essential singularity in the history of the race beyond which human affairs, as we know them, could not continue’. [2] The term was popularised by mathematician, computer scientist and science fiction author Vernor Vinge, who argues that artificial intelligence, human biological advancement, or brain-computer interfaces could be possible causes of the singularity. [3]  Kurzweil cited von Neumann’s use of the term in a foreword to von Neumann’s classic The Computer and the Brain. [4]

Kurzweil predicts the singularity to occur around 2045 [5] whereas Vinge predicts some time before 2030 [6]. In 2012, Stuart Armstrong and Kaj Sotala published a study of AGI predictions by both experts and non-experts and found a wide range of predicted dates, with a median value of 2040. [7] Discussing the level of uncertainty in AGI estimates, Armstrong stated at the 2012 Singularity Summit: ‘It’s not fully formalized, but my current 80% estimate is something like five to 100 years.’ [8]

Speaking for myself, and despite the above, I’m not at all convinced that a Singularity will occur, i.e. one singular event that effectively changes history for ever from that precise moment moving forward. From my (admittedly limited) research on the matter, it seems far more realistic to think of the future in terms of incremental steps made along the way, leading up to major diverse changes (plural) in the way we as human beings – and indeed all sentient life – live, but try as I might I cannot get my head around these all occurring in a near-contemporary Big Bang.

Surely we have plenty of evidence already that the opposite will most likely be the case? Scientists have been working on AI, nanotechnology, genetic engineering, robotics, et al., for many years and I see no reason to conclude that this won’t remain the case in the years to come. Small steps leading to big changes maybe, but perhaps not one giant leap for mankind in a singular convergence of emerging technologies?

Let’s be straight here: I’m not having a go at Kurzweil or his ideas – the man’s clearly a visionary (at least from my standpoint) and leagues ahead when it comes to intelligence and foresight. I’m simply interested as to what extent his ideas are accepted by the wider transhumanist movement.

There are notable critics (again leagues ahead of me in critically engaging with the subject) who argue against the idea of the Singularity. Nathan Pensky, writing in 2014 says:

It’s no doubt true that the speculative inquiry that informed Kurzweil’s creation of the Singularity also informed his prodigious accomplishment in the invention of new tech. But just because a guy is smart doesn’t mean he’s always right. The Singularity makes for great science-fiction, but not much else. [9]

Other well-informed critics have also dismissed Kurzweil’s central premise, among them Professor Andrew Blake, managing director of Microsoft at Cambridge, Jaron Lanier, Paul Allen, Peter Murray, Jeff Hawkins, Gordon Moore, Jared Diamond, and Steven Pinker to name but a few. Even Noam Chomsky has waded in to categorically deny the possibility of such. Pinker writes:

There is not the slightest reason to believe in the coming singularity. The fact you can visualise a future in your imagination is not evidence that it is likely or even possible… Sheer processing is not a pixie dust that magically solves all your problems. [10]

There are, of course, many more critics, but then there are also many supporters also, and Kurzweil rarely lets a criticism pass without a fierce rebuttal. Indeed, new academic interdisciplinary disciplines have been founded in part on the presupposition of the Singularity occurring in line with Kurzweil’s predictions (along with other phenomena that pose the possibility of existential risk). Examples include Nick Bostrom’s Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University or the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk at Cambridge.

Given the above and returning to my original question: how do transhumanists taken as a whole rate the possibility of an imminent Singularity as described by Kurzweil? Good science or good science-fiction? For Kurzweil it is the pace of change – exponential growth – that will result in a runaway effect – an intelligence explosion– where smart machines design successive generations of increasingly powerful machines, creating intelligence far exceeding human intellectual capacity and control. Because the capabilities of such a super intelligence may be impossible for a human to comprehend, the technological singularity is the point beyond which events may become unpredictable or even unfathomable to human intelligence. [11] The only way for us to participate in such an event will be by merging with the intelligent machines we are creating.

And I guess this is what is hard for me to fathom. We are creating these machines with all our mixed-up, blinkered, prejudicial, oppositional minds, aims, and values. We as human beings, however intelligent, are an absolutely necessary part of the picture that I think Kurzweil sometimes underestimates. I’m more inclined to agree with Jamais Cascio when he says:

I don’t think that a Singularity would be visible to those going through one. Even the most disruptive changes are not universally or immediately distributed, and late followers learn from the dilemmas of those who had initially encountered the disruptive change. [12]

So I’d love to know what you think. Are you in Kurzweil’s corner waiting for that singular moment in 2045 when the world as we know it stops for an instant… and then restarts in a glorious new utopian future? Or do you agree with Kurzweil but harbour serious fears that the whole ‘glorious new future’ may not be on the cards and we’re all obliterated in the newborn AGI’s capriciousness or gray goo? Or, are you a moderate, maintaining that a Singularity, while almost certain to occur, will pass unnoticed by those waiting? Or do you think it’s so much baloney?

Whatever, I’d really value your input and hear your views on the subject.

NOTES

1. As stated below, the term Singularity was in use before Kurweil’s appropriation of it. But as shorthand I’ll refer to his interpretation and predictions relating to it throughout this article.

2. Carvalko, J, 2012, ‘The Techno-human Shell-A Jump in the Evolutionary Gap.’ (Mechanicsburg: Sunbury Press)

3. Ulam, S, 1958, ‘ Tribute to John von Neumann’, 64, #3, part 2. Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society. p. 5

4. Vinge, V, 2013, ‘Vernor Vinge on the Singularity’, San Diego State University. Retrieved Nov 2015

5. Kurzweil R, 2005, ‘The Singularity is Near’, (London: Penguin Group)

6. Vinge, V, 1993, ‘The Coming Technological Singularity: How to Survive in the Post-Human Era’, originally in Vision-21: Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering in the Era of Cyberspace, G. A. Landis, ed., NASA Publication CP-10129

7. Armstrong S and Sotala, K, 2012 ‘How We’re Predicting AI – Or Failing To’, in Beyond AI: Artificial Dreams, edited by Jan Romportl, Pavel Ircing, Eva Zackova, Michal Polak, and Radek Schuster (Pilsen: University of West Bohemia) https://intelligence.org/files/PredictingAI.pdf

8. Armstrong, S, ‘How We’re Predicting AI’, from the 2012 Singularity Conference

9. Pensky, N, 2014, article taken from Pando. https://goo.gl/LpR3eF

10. Pinker S, 2008, IEEE Spectrum: ‘Tech Luminaries Address Singularity’. http://goo.gl/ujQlyI

11. Wikipedia, ‘Technological Singularity; Retrieved Nov 2015. https://goo.gl/nFzi2y

12. Cascio, J, ‘New FC: Singularity Scenarios’ article taken from Open the Future. http://goo.gl/dZptO3

Gareth John lives in Cardiff, UK and is a trainee social researcher with an interest in the intersection of emerging technologies with behavioural and mental health. He has an MA in Buddhist Studies from the University of Bristol. He is also a member of the U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party. 


HISTORICAL COMMENTS

Gareth,

Thank you for the thoughtful article. I’m emailing to comment on the blog post, though I can’t tell when it was written. You say that you don’t believe the singularity will necessarily occur the way Kurzweil envisions, but it seems like you slightly mischaracterize his definition of the term.

I don’t believe that Kurzweil ever meant to suggest that the singularity will simply consist of one single event that will change everything. Rather, I believe he means that the singularity is when no person can make any prediction past that point in time when a $1,000 computer becomes smarter than the entire human race, much like how an event horizon of a black hole prevents anyone from seeing past it.

Given that Kurzweil’s definition isn’t an arbitrary claim that everything changes all at once, I don’t see how anyone can really argue with whether the singularity will happen. After all, at some point in the future, even if it happens much slower than Kurzweil predicts, a $1,000 computer will eventually become smarter than every human. When this happens, I think it’s fair to say no one is capable of predicting the future of humanity past that point. Would you disagree with this?

Even more important is that although many of Kurzweil’s predictions are untrue about when certain products will become commercially available to the general public, all the evidence I’ve seen about the actual trend of the law of accelerating returns seems to be exactly spot on. Maybe this trend will slow down, or stop, but it hasn’t yet. Until it does, I think the law of accelerating returns, and Kurzweil’s singularity, deserve the benefit of the doubt.

[…]

Thanks,

Rich Casada


Hi Rich,
Thanks for the comments. The post was written back in 2015 for IEET, and represented a genuine ask from the transhumanist community. At that time my priority was to learn what I could, where I could, and not a lot’s changed for me since – I’m still learning!

I’m not sure I agree that Kurzweil’s definition isn’t a claim that ‘everything changes at once’. In The Singularity is Near, he states:

“So we will be producing about 1026 to 1029 cps of nonbiological computation per year in the early 2030s. This is roughly equal to our estimate for the capacity of all living biological human intelligence … This state of computation in the early 2030s will not represent the Singularity, however, because it does not yet correspond to a profound expansion of our intelligence. By the mid-2040s, however, that one thousand dollars’ worth of computation will be equal to 1026 cps, so the intelligence created per year (at a total cost of about $1012) will be about one billion times more powerful than all human intelligence today. That will indeed represent a profound change, and it is for that reason that I set the date for the Singularity—representing a profound and disruptive transformation in human capability—as 2045.” (Kurzweil 2005, pp.135-36, italics mine).

Kurzweil specifically defines what the Singularity is and isn’t (a profound and disruptive transformation in human intelligence), and a more-or-less precise prediction of when it will occur. A consequence of that may be that we will not ‘be able to make any prediction past that point in time’, however, I don’t believe this is the main thrust of Kurzweil’s argument.

I do, however, agree with what you appear to be postulating (correct me if I’m wrong) in that a better definition of a Singularity might indeed simply be ‘when no person can make any prediction past that point in time.’ And, like you, I don’t believe it will be tied to any set-point in time. We may be living through a singularity as we speak. There may be many singularities (although, worth noting again, Kurzweil reserves the term “singularity” for a rapid increase in artificial intelligence as opposed to other technologies, writing for example that, “The Singularity will allow us to transcend these limitations of our biological bodies and brains … There will be no distinction, post-Singularity, between human and machine.” (Kurzweil 2005, p. 9)

So, having said all that, and in answer to your question of whether there is a point beyond which no one is capable of predicting the future of humanity: I’m not sure. I guess none of us can really be sure until, or unless, it happens.

This is why I believe having the conversation about the ethical implications of these new technologies now is so important. Post-singularity might simply be too late.

Gareth

Transhumanist Bill of Rights – Results of Vote and Version 3.0

Transhumanist Bill of Rights – Results of Vote and Version 3.0

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Gennady Stolyarov II


The U.S. Transhumanist Party conducted its tenth vote of the members on December 2 through December 9, 2018. Official ballot options can be found here.

Detailed results of the voting have been tabulated here. Where more than two options existed, the winning result was selected based on the ranked-preference method with instant runoffs.

As a result, Version 3.0 of the Transhumanist Bill of Rights was compiled on the basis of the members’ decisions. Version 3.0 augments and supersedes Version 2.0, while retaining the original intent of Version 2.0.

The resulting Version 3.0 of the Transhumanist Bill of Rights is permanently hosted here. Its text is also reproduced below.

Note: It is important to keep in mind that the Transhumanist Bill of Rights is not a policy platform but rather a member-driven expression of ideals for a transhumanist society. No individual is bound to it (indeed, its new Article I states this explicitly), it is not static, and it is subject to further amendments if/when member recommendations arise and meet with significant demand.  Anyone who sees this version can always give feedback on the U.S. Transhumanist Party website (including on this thread) and/or Facebook page. The official U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform can be found here.


Transhumanist Bill of Rights – Version 3.0

Version 1.0 written by Zoltan Istvan – Delivered to the U.S. Capitol on December 14, 2015

Version 2.0 developed by members of the U.S. Transhumanist Party – Adopted via Electronic Vote on December 25-31, 2016 – Integrated from Voting Preferences on January 4, 2017

Version 3.0 developed by members of the U.S. Transhumanist Party – Adopted via Electronic Vote on December 2-9, 2018 – Integrated from Voting Preferences on December 12, 2018

[NOTE: The Transhumanist Bill of Rights is not static and is open to further amendments via future votes of U.S. Transhumanist Party members. To suggest a specific amendment, you may make a post on this thread or e-mail Gennady Stolyarov II, Chairman of the U.S. Transhumanist Party, here. Proposed amendments that receive sufficient member demand will be considered for inclusion on future ballots.]

Preamble

Whereas science and technology are now radically changing human beings and may also create future forms of advanced sapient and sentient life, transhumanists establish this TRANSHUMANIST BILL OF RIGHTS to help guide and enact sensible policies in the pursuit of life, liberty, security of person, and happiness.

As used in this TRANSHUMANIST BILL OF RIGHTS, the term “sentient entities” encompasses:
        (i) Human beings, including genetically modified humans;
        (ii) Cyborgs;
        (iii) Digital intelligences;
        (iv) Intellectually enhanced, previously non-sapient animals;
       (v) Any species of plant or animal which has been enhanced to possess the capacity for intelligent thought; and
        (vi) Other advanced sapient life forms.

Sentient entities are defined by information-processing capacity such that this term should not apply to non-self-aware lifeforms, like plants and slime molds. Biological processing substrates are referred to as using an “analogue intelligence”, whereas purely electronic processing substrates are referred to as “digital intelligence”, and processing substrates that utilize quantum effects would be considered “quantum intelligence”.

Sentience is ranked as Level 5 information integration according to the following criteria:

  • Level 0 – No information integration: Inanimate objects; objects that do not modify themselves in response to interaction – e.g., rocks, mountains.
  • Level 1 – Non-zero information integration: Sensors – anything that is able to sense its environment – e.g., photo-diode sense organs, eyes, skin.
  • Level 2 – Information manipulation: Systems that include feedback that is non-adaptive or minimally adaptive – e.g., plants, basic algorithms, the system that interprets the output from a photo-diode to determine its on/off state (a photo diode itself cannot detect its own state). Level 2 capabilities include the following:
  1. Expression of emotion;
  2. Expression of sensory pleasure;
  3. Taste aversion.
  • Level 3 – Information integration – Awareness: Systems that include adaptive feedback, can dynamically generate classification – e.g., deep-learning AI, chickens, animals that are able to react to their environment, have a model of their perception but not the world. This level describes animals acting on instinct and unable to classify other animals into more types than “predator”, “prey”, or “possible mate”. Level 3 capabilities include the following:
  1. Navigational detouring (which requires an being to pursue a series of non-rewarding intermediate goals in order to obtain an ultimate reward); Examples: documentation of detouring in jumping spiders (Jackson and Wilcox 1998), motivational trade-off behavior in hermit crabs (Elwood and Appel 2009);
  2. Emotional fever (an increase in body temperature in response to a supposedly stressful situation — gentle handling, as operationalized in Cabanac’s experiments).
  • Level 4 – Awareness + World model: Systems that have a modeling system complex enough to create a world model: a sense of other, without a sense of self – e.g., dogs. Level 4 capabilities include static behaviors and rudimentary learned behavior.
  • Level 5 – Awareness + World model + Primarily subconscious self model = Sapient or Lucid: Lucidity means to be meta-aware – that is, to be aware of one’s own awareness, aware of abstractions, aware of one’s self, and therefore able to actively analyze each of these phenomena. If a given animal is meta-aware to any extent, it can therefore make lucid decisions. Level 5 capabilities include the following:
  1. The “sense of self”;
  2. Complex learned behavior;
  3. Ability to predict the future emotional states of the self (to some degree);
  4. The ability to make motivational tradeoffs.
  • Level 6 – Awareness + World model + Dynamic self model + Effective control of subconscious: The dynamic sense of self can expand from “the small self” (directed consciousness) to the big self (“social group dynamics”). The “self” can include features that cross barriers between biological and non-biological – e.g., features resulting from cybernetic additions, like smartphones.
  • Level 7 – Global awareness – Hybrid biological-digital awareness = Singleton: Complex algorithms and/or networks of algorithms that have capacity for multiple parallel simulations of multiple world models, enabling cross-domain analysis and novel temporary model generation. This level includes an ability to contain a vastly larger amount of biases, many paradoxically held. Perspectives are maintained in separate modules, which are able to dynamically switch between identifying with the local module of awareness/perspective or the global awareness/perspective. Level 7 capabilities involve the same type of dynamic that exists between the subconscious and directed consciousness, but massively parallelized, beyond biological capacities.

Article I. All sentient entities are hereby entitled to pursue any and all rights within this document to the degree that they deem desirable – including not at all. All sentient entities are entitled, to the extent of their individual decisions, to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this TRANSHUMANIST BILL OF RIGHTS, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, gender, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, social, or planetary origin, property, birth (including manner of birth), biological or non-biological origins, or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional, or international status of the country or territory to which a sentient entity belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing, or under any other limitation of sovereignty. In the exercise of their rights and freedoms, all sentient entities shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order, and the general welfare in a democratic society, which may not undermine the peaceful prerogatives of any individual sentient entity. These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of this TRANSHUMANIST BILL OF RIGHTS.

Article II. The enumeration in this TRANSHUMANIST BILL OF RIGHTS of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage any other rights retained by sentient entities.

Article III. All sentient entities shall be granted equal and total access to any universal rights to life. All sentient entities are created free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood (without necessitating any particular gender or implying any particular biological or non-biological origin or composition).

Article IV. Sentient entities are entitled to universal rights of ending involuntary suffering, making personhood improvements, and achieving an indefinite lifespan via science and technology. The right of ending involuntary suffering does not refer to euthanasia but rather to the application of technology to eliminate involuntary suffering in still-living beings, while enabling their lives to continue with improved quality and length.

Article V. No coercive legal restrictions should exist to bar access to life extension and life expansion for all sentient entities. Life expansion includes life extension, sensory improvements, and other technologically driven improvements of the human condition that might be achieved in the future.

Article VI. Involuntary aging shall be classified as a disease. All nations and their governments will actively seek to dramatically extend the lives and improve the health of their citizens by offering them scientific and medical technologies to overcome involuntary aging.

Article VII. All sentient entities should be the beneficiaries of a system of universal health care. A system of universal health care does not necessitate any particular means, policy framework, source, or method of payment for delivering health care. A system of universal health care may be provided privately, by governments, or by some combination thereof, as long as, in practice, health care is abundant, inexpensive, accessible, and effective in curing diseases, healing injuries, and lengthening lifespans.

Article VIII. Sentient entities are entitled to the freedom to conduct research, experiment, and explore life, science, technology, medicine, and extraterrestrial realms to overcome biological limitations of humanity. Such experimentation will not be carried out on any sapient being, without that being’s informed consent. Sentient entities are also entitled to the freedom to create cybernetic artificial organs, bio-mechatronic parts, genetic modifications, systems, technologies, and enhancements to extend lifespan, eradicate illness, and improve all sentient life forms. Any such creations that demonstrate sapience cannot be considered property and are protected by the rights presented herein.

Article IX. Legal safeguards should be established to protect individual free choice in pursuing peaceful, consensual life-extension science, health improvements, body modification, and morphological enhancement. While all individuals should be free to formulate their independent opinions regarding the aforementioned pursuits, no hostile cultural, ethnic, or religious perspectives should be entitled to apply the force of law to erode the safeguards protecting peaceful, voluntary measures intended to maximize the number of life hours citizens possess.

Article X. Sentient entities agree to uphold morphological freedom—the right to do with one’s physical attributes or intelligence whatever one wants so long as it does not harm others.

This right includes the prerogative for a sentient intelligence to set forth in advance provisions for how to handle its physical manifestation, should that intelligence enter into a vegetative, unconscious, or similarly inactive state, notwithstanding any legal definition of death. For instance, a cryonics patient has the right to determine in advance that the patient’s body shall be cryopreserved and kept under specified conditions, in spite of any legal definition of death that might apply to that patient under cryopreservation.

Morphological freedom entails the duty to treat all sapients as individuals instead of categorizing them into arbitrary subgroups or demographics, including as yet undefined subcategorizations that may arise as sapience evolves.

However, the proper exercise of morphological freedom must also ensure that any improvement of the self should not result in involuntary harms inflicted upon others. Furthermore, any sentient entity is also recognized to have the freedom not to modify itself without being subject to negative political repercussions, which include but are not limited to legal and/or socio-economic repercussions.

Article XI.  An altered, augmented, cybernetic, transgenic, anthropomorphic, or avatar sentient entity, whether derived from or edited by science, comprised of or conjoined with technology, has the right to exist, form, and join the neo-civilization.

Article XII.  All sentient entities are entitled to reproductive freedom, including through novel means such as the creation of mind clones, monoparent children, or benevolent artificial general intelligence. All sentient entities of full age and competency, without any limitation due to race, nationality, religion, or origin, have the right to marry and found a family or to found a family as single heads of household. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage, and at its dissolution. Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses. All families, including families formed through novel means, are entitled to protection by society and the State. All sentient entities also have the right to prevent unauthorized reproduction of themselves in both a physical and a digital context. Privacy and security legislation should be enacted to prevent any individual’s DNA, data, or other information from being stolen and duplicated without that individual’s authorization.

Article XIII. No sentient entity shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his, her, or its privacy, family, home, or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his, her, or its honor and reputation. Every sentient entity has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks. All sentient entities have privacy rights to personal data, genetic material, digital, biographic, physical, and intellectual enhancements, and consciousness. Despite the differences between physical and virtual worlds, equal protections for privacy should apply to both physical and digital environments. Any data, such as footage from a public security camera, archived without the consent of the person(s) about whom the data were gathered and subject to legal retention, shall be removed after a period of seven (7) years, unless otherwise requested by said person(s).

Article XIV. No sentient entity shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile. Sousveillance laws should be enacted to ensure that all members of peaceful communities feel safe, to achieve governmental transparency, and to provide counter-balances to any surveillance state. For instance, law-enforcement officials, when interacting with the public, should be required to wear body cameras or similar devices continuously monitoring their activities.

Article XV. All sentient entities, with the exception only of those in legal detention, have the right to private internet access without such access being prohibited or circumvented by either private corporations or governmental bureaucracy.

Article XVI. All sentient entities are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All sentient entities are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this TRANSHUMANIST BILL OF RIGHTS and against any incitement to such discrimination.All sentient entities should be protected from discrimination based on their physical form in the context of business transactions and law enforcement.

Article XVII. All sentient entities have the right to life, liberty and security of person. All sentient entities have the right to defend themselves from attack, in both physical and virtual worlds.

Article XVIII. Societies of the present and future should afford all sentient entities sufficient basic access to wealth and resources to sustain the basic requirements of existence in a civilized society and function as the foundation for pursuits of self-improvement. This includes the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of oneself and one’s family, including food or other necessary sources of energy, clothing, housing or other appropriate shelter, medical care or other necessary physical maintenance, necessary social services, and the right of security in the event of involuntary unemployment, sickness, disability, loss of family support, old age, or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond the sentient entity’s control. Present and future societies should ensure that their members will not live in poverty solely for being born to the wrong parents. All children and other recently created sentient entities, irrespective of the manner or circumstances of their creation, shall enjoy the same social protection. Each sentient entity, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social, and cultural rights indispensable for his, her, or its dignity and the free development of his, her, or its personality.

Article XIX. Irrespective of whether or not technology will eventually replace the need for the labor of sentient entities, all sentient entities should be the beneficiaries of an unconditional universal basic income, whereby the same minimum amount of money or other resources is provided irrespective of a sentient entity’s life circumstances, occupations, or other income sources, so as to provide a means for the basic requirements of existence and liberty to be met.

Article XX. Present and future societies should provide education systems accessible and available to all in pursuit of factual knowledge to increase intellectual acuity; promote critical thinking and logic; foster creativity; form an enlightened collective; attain health; secure the bounty of liberty for all sentient entities for our posterity; and forge new ideas, meanings, and values. All sentient entities have the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available, and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit. Education shall be directed to the full development of the sentient entity’s personality and to the strengthening of respect for all sentient entities’ rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance, and friendship among all nations, racial, religious, and other sentient groups – whether biological, non-biological, or a combination thereof – and shall further the maintenance of peace. Parents and other creators of sentient entities have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children or other recently created sentient entities which have not yet developed sufficient maturity to select their own education.

Article XXI. All sentient entities are entitled to join their psyches to a collective noosphere in an effort to preserve self-consciousness in perpetuity. The noosphere is the sphere of human thought and includes, but is not limited to, intellectual systems in the realm of law, education, philosophy, technology, art, culture, and industry. All sentient entities have the right to participate in the noosphere using any level of technology that is conducive to constructive participation.

Article XXII. Sentient entities will take every reasonable precaution to prevent existential risks, including those of rogue artificial intelligence, asteroids, plagues, weapons of mass destruction, bioterrorism, war, and global warming, among others.

Article XXIII. All nations and their governments will take all reasonable measures to embrace and fund space travel, not only for the spirit of adventure and to gain knowledge by exploring the universe, but as an ultimate safeguard to its citizens and transhumanity should planet Earth become uninhabitable or be destroyed.

Article XXIV. Transhumanists stand opposed to the post-truth culture of deception. All governments should be required to make decisions and communicate information rationally and in accordance with facts. Lying for political gain or intentionally fomenting irrational fears among the general public should entail heavy political penalties for the officials who engage in such behaviors.

Article XXV. No sentient entity shall be held in slavery or involuntary servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.

Article XXVI. No sentient entity shall be subjected to torture or to treatment or punishment that is cruel, degrading, inhuman, or otherwise unworthy of sentience or sapience.

Article XXVII. Each sentient entity has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.

Article XXVIII. All individual sentient entities have the right to an effective remedy by the competent local, national, international, or interplanetary tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted them by the constitution, by law, and/or by this TRANSHUMANIST BILL OF RIGHTS.

Article XXIX. All individual sentient entities are entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of their individual rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against them.

Article XXX. All individual sentient entities charged with a penal offence have the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which they individually have had all the guarantees necessary for their defense. No sentient entity shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.

Article XXXI. All sentient entities have the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state. Each individual sentient entity has the right to leave any country, including his, her, or its own, and to return to his, her, or its country.

Article XXXII. All sentient entities have the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution. This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of this TRANSHUMANIST BILL OF RIGHTS.

Article XXXIII. All sentient entities have the right to a nationality. No sentient entity shall be arbitrarily deprived of his, her, or its nationality nor denied the right to change his, her, or its nationality.

Article XXXIV. All sentient entities have the right to own property alone as well as in association with others. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his, her, or its property.

Article XXXV. All sentient entities have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change one’s religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest one’s religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance. This right also includes freedom not to have a religion and to criticize or refuse to engage in any religious practice or belief without adverse legal consequences.

Article XXXVI. All sentient entities have the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Article XXXVII. All sentient entities have the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association. No sentient entity may be compelled to belong to an association.

Article XXXVIII. All sentient entities have the right to take part in the government of their countries, directly or through freely chosen representatives. All sentient entities have the right of equal access to public service in their countries. The will of the constituent sentient entities shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage of sentient entities and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.

Article XXXIX. All sentient entities have the right to work, to free choice of employment, and to just and favorable conditions of work, as long as employment is offered or considered economically necessary in the sentient entity’s proximate society and contemporary epoch. All sentient entities who choose to work have the right to equal pay for equal work. All sentient entities who choose to work have the right to just and favorable remuneration, ensuring for themselves and their families an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection, such as a universal basic income. All sentient entities have the right to form and join trade unions for the protection of their interests; however, no sentient entity may be compelled to join a trade union as a condition of employment.

Article XL. All sentient entities have the right to rest and leisure commensurate with the physical requirements of those sentient entities for maintaining optimal physical and mental health, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay in societies where paid employment is considered economically necessary.

Article XLI. All sentient entities have the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts, and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits. All sentient entities have the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary, or artistic production of which they are the authors.

Article XLII. All sentient entities are entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this TRANSHUMANIST BILL OF RIGHTS can be fully realized.

Article XLIII. Nothing in this TRANSHUMANIST BILL OF RIGHTS may be interpreted as implying for any State, group, or sentient entity any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.

Official Ballot Options for Transhumanist Bill of Rights, Version 3.0 – Voting Period of December 2-8, 2018

Official Ballot Options for Transhumanist Bill of Rights, Version 3.0 – Voting Period of December 2-8, 2018

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The 7-day electronic voting period on the Transhumanist Bill of Rights, Version 3.0, will occur from 12:01 a.m. U.S. Pacific Time on December 2, 2018, to 12:01 a.m.  U.S. Pacific Time on December 9, 2018. All members of the U.S. Transhumanist Party who have applied before 12:01 a.m. on December 2, 2018, will be eligible to vote, as long as they have expressed agreement with the three Core Ideals of the Transhumanist Party or have otherwise been rendered eligible to vote at the discretion of the Chairman.

All members who are eligible to vote will be sent a link to an electronic submission form whereby they will be able to cast their ballot.

When you are voting, it is strongly recommended that you keep this page of official ballot options and the submission form open simultaneously in different windows so that you can reference the relevant options as you vote on them. Due to space limitations, the submission form does not list the entire text of all the options.

It is also recommended that you set aside at least one hour to consider and vote on all of the options and read their text closely, as some of the options contain minor variations upon other options. 

For some questions, electronic voting is  conducted by a ranked-preference method on individual articles where more options are possible than would be accommodated by a simple “Yes” or “No” vote. Members should keep in mind that the ranked-preference method eliminates the incentives for strategic voting – so members are encouraged to vote for the options that reflect their individual preferences as closely as possible, without regard for how other members might vote.

Results of the voting will be tabulated during the second week of December 2018, with the intent to announce the results approximately 7 days after all votes have been submitted.

NOTE: The titles of the questions and potential Articles are descriptive and informational only and will not appear in the final adopted Transhumanist Bill of Rights, Version 3.0. They are intended as concise guides to the subject matter of the questions and potential Articles. Likewise, the numbers or letters assigned to Articles within this ballot may or may not reflect the numbering in the final adopted Transhumanist Bill of Rights, which will depend on which Articles are selected by the membership.

NOTE II: The inclusion of any proposals on this ballot does not indicate any manner of endorsement for those proposals by the U.S. Transhumanist Party at this time – except to place those proposals before the members to determine the will of the members with regard to whether or not the Transhumanist Bill of Rights should incorporate any given proposal.

Voter Identification

What is your name?

At minimum, first and last name are required, unless you are publicly known by a single-name pseudonym which is not itself a common name. Your identity will not be publicly disclosed by the Transhumanist Party, unless you choose and/or authorize its disclosure. The nature of the selections made by the members may be disclosed, but, if they are, each individual vote will not be associated with the identity of the voter but rather will be presented in an anonymized manner.

What is your e-mail address?

Provide the same e-mail address you used to register for U.S. Transhumanist Party membership. Your ballot will be cross-referenced to our membership rolls, and only ballots with matching e-mail addresses will be counted.

Navigate the Options

Proposed Clarifying Amendments

Amendment TBR-IV. Clarification Regarding the Right to End Involuntary Suffering
Amendment TBR-VII. Clarification Regarding Universal Healthcare
Amendment TBR-XIX. Expansion of the Context for Universal Basic Income
Amendment TBR-XXI. Additional Information Regarding the Noosphere

Proposed Amendments to Integrate the Provisions of the United Nations Universal Declarations of Human Rights (“UN Declaration”) Directly into the Transhumanist Bill of Rights

Amendment TBR-I. Integration of Transhumanist Bill of Rights, Article I, and UN Declaration Articles 2 and 29
Amendment TBR-III. Integration of Transhumanist Bill of Rights, Article III, and UN Declaration Article 1
Amendment TBR-XII. Integration of Transhumanist Bill of Rights, Article XII, and UN Declaration Article 16
Amendment TBR-XIII. Integration of Transhumanist Bill of Rights, Article XIII, and UN Declaration Article 12
Amendment TBR-XIV. Integration of Transhumanist Bill of Rights, Article XIV, and UN Declaration Article 9
Amendment TBR-XVI. Integration of Transhumanist Bill of Rights, Article XVI, and UN Declaration Article 7
Amendment TBR-XVII. Integration of Transhumanist Bill of Rights, Article XVII, and UN Declaration Article 3
Amendment TBR-XVIII. Integration of Transhumanist Bill of Rights, Article XVIII, and UN Declaration Articles 22 and 25
Amendment TBR-XX. Integration of Transhumanist Bill of Rights, Article XX, and UN Declaration Article 26
Amendment TBR-XXV. Addition of New Article to Prohibit Slavery and Involuntary Servitude, Per UN Declaration Article 4
Amendment TBR-XXVI. Addition of New Article to Prohibit Torture and Cruel Punishment, Per UN Declaration Article 5
Amendment TBR-XXVII. Addition of New Article on Recognition Before the Law, Per UN Declaration Article 6
Amendment TBR-XXVIII. Addition of New Article on Effective Remedy – Expanded Version of UN Declaration Article 8
Amendment TBR-XXIX. Addition of New Article on Public Hearings for Criminal Charges – Per UN Declaration Article 10
Amendment TBR-XXX. Addition of New Article on Presumption of Innocence – Per  UN Declaration Article 11
Amendment TBR-XXXI. Addition of New Article on Freedom of Movement – Per  UN Declaration Article 13
Amendment TBR-XXXII. Addition of New Article on Right to Seek Asylum – Per  UN Declaration Article 14
Amendment TBR-XXXIII. Addition of New Article on Right to Nationality – Per  UN Declaration Article 15
Amendment TBR-XXXIV. Addition of New Article on Right to Property – Per  UN Declaration Article 17
Amendment TBR-XXXV. Addition of New Article on Religious Freedom – Expanded Version of UN Declaration Article 18
Amendment TBR-XXXVI. Addition of New Article on Freedom of Opinion and Expression – Per UN Declaration Article 19
Amendment TBR-XXXVII. Addition of New Article on Peaceful Assembly and Association – Per UN Declaration Article 20
Amendment TBR-XXXVIII. Addition of New Article on Right of Political Participation – Per UN Declaration Article 21
Amendment TBR-XXXIX. Addition of New Article on Right to Work – Modified Version of UN Declaration Article 23
Amendment TBR-XL. Addition of New Article on Right to Rest and Leisure – Modified Version of UN Declaration Article 24
Amendment TBR-XLI. Addition of New Article on Right of Cultural Participation – Per UN Declaration Article 27
Amendment TBR-XLII. Addition of New Article on Right to Social and International Order – Per UN Declaration Article 28
Amendment TBR-XLIII. Addition of New Article to Oppose Destruction of Rights and Freedoms – Per UN Declaration Article 30

Proposed Clarifying Amendments

Amendment TBR-IV. Clarification Regarding the Right to End Involuntary Suffering

Shall Article IV be amended to add the following statement at the end?

“The right of ending involuntary suffering does not refer to euthanasia but rather to the application of technology to eliminate involuntary suffering in still-living beings, while enabling their lives to continue with improved quality and length.”

If this proposal is passed, the resulting Article IV will read as follows:

“Sentient entities are entitled to universal rights of ending involuntary suffering, making personhood improvements, and achieving an indefinite lifespan via science and technology. The right of ending involuntary suffering does not refer to euthanasia but rather to the application of technology to eliminate involuntary suffering in still-living beings, while enabling their lives to continue with improved quality and length.”

Select one of the following options.

Yes.

No.

Abstain.

Amendment TBR-VII. Clarification Regarding Universal Healthcare

Rank-order the Amendment TBR-VII Options that you support. Choose “1” for your most highly favored option, “2” for your second-most highly favored option, etc. You may include the option to “Keep the Current Wording of Article VII” in your rank-ordering, and it does not need to be your most favored option if you do so. (For instance, some voters might favor some options but think that no amendment is preferable to some of the other options.)

If you choose “Abstain”, then do not rank-order any options, as you will be considered to have skipped this question.

☐ Proposal TBR-VII-1 [Universal Healthcare as Practical Reality]: Amend Article VII to add the following statement at the end so that the complete Article reads as follows:

“All sentient entities should be the beneficiaries of a system of universal health care. A system of universal healthcare does not necessitate any particular means, policy framework, source, or method of payment for delivering healthcare. A system of universal healthcare may be provided privately, by governments, or by some combination thereof, as long as, in practice, healthcare is abundant, inexpensive, accessible, and effective in curing diseases, healing injuries, and lengthening lifespans.”

☐ Proposal TBR-VII-2 [Universal Healthcare as Legal Guarantee, Based on Proposal by Didier Coeurnelle]: Amend Article VII to add the following statement at the end:

“All sentient entities should be the beneficiaries of a system of universal health care. A system of universal healthcare does not necessitate any particular means, policy framework, source, or method of payment for delivering healthcare. A system of universal healthcare may be provided by public institutions, by private organizations, or by some combination thereof, as long as there are legal guarantees that healthcare is to become abundant, inexpensive, accessible, and effective in curing diseases, healing injuries, and lengthening lifespans.”

☐ Keep the Current Wording of Article VII: “All sentient entities should be the beneficiaries of a system of universal health care.”

Amendment TBR-XIX. Expansion of the Context for Universal Basic Income

Shall Article XIX be amended to replace the starting clause of the Article (“Given the inevitability of technology eventually replacing the need for the labor of sentient entities,”) with an alternative clause: “Irrespective of whether or not technology will eventually replace the need for the labor of sentient entities,” – such that, if the proposal is passed, the revised Article XIX would read as follows?

“Irrespective of whether or not technology will eventually replace the need for the labor of sentient entities, all sentient entities should be the beneficiaries of an unconditional universal basic income, whereby the same minimum amount of money or other resources is provided irrespective of a sentient entity’s life circumstances, occupations, or other income sources, so as to provide a means for the basic requirements of existence and liberty to be met.”

Select one of the following options.

Yes.

No.

Abstain.

Amendment TBR-XXI. Additional Information Regarding the Noosphere

Shall Article XXI be amended to add the following statement at the end?

“The noosphere is the sphere of human thought and includes, but is not limited to, intellectual systems in the realm of law, education, philosophy, technology, art, culture, and industry. All sentient entities have the right to participate in the noosphere using any level of technology that is conducive to constructive participation.”

If this proposal is passed, the resulting Article XXI will read as follows:

“All sentient entities are entitled to join their psyches to a collective noosphere in an effort to preserve self-consciousness in perpetuity. The noosphere is the sphere of human thought and includes, but is not limited to, intellectual systems in the realm of law, education, philosophy, technology, art, culture, and industry. All sentient entities have the right to participate in the noosphere using any level of technology that is conducive to constructive participation.”

Select one of the following options.

Yes.

No.

Abstain.

Proposed Amendments to Integrate the Provisions of the United Nations Universal Declarations of Human Rights (“UN Declaration”) Directly into the Transhumanist Bill of Rights

Amendment TBR-I. Integration of Transhumanist Bill of Rights, Article I, and UN Declaration Articles 2 and 29:

Shall Article I be amended to read as follows?

“All sentient entities are hereby entitled to pursue any and all rights within this TRANSHUMANIST BILL OF RIGHTS to the degree that they deem desirable – including not at all. All sentient entities are entitled, to the extent of their individual decisions, to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this TRANSHUMANIST BILL OF RIGHTS, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, gender, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, social, or planetary origin, property, birth (including manner of birth), biological or non-biological origins, or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a sentient entity belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing, or under any other limitation of sovereignty. In the exercise of their rights and freedoms, all sentient entities shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order, and the general welfare in a democratic society, which may not undermine the peaceful prerogatives of any individual sentient entity. These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of this TRANSHUMANIST BILL OF RIGHTS.”

Select one of the following options.

Yes.

No. (A “No” vote would support retaining the current Article I: “All sentient entities are hereby entitled to pursue any and all rights within this document to the degree that they deem desirable – including not at all.”)

Abstain.

Amendment TBR-III. Integration of Transhumanist Bill of Rights, Article III, and UN Declaration Article 1:

Shall Article III be amended to read as follows?

“All sentient entities shall be granted equal and total access to any universal rights to life. All sentient entities are created free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood (without necessitating any particular gender or implying any particular biological or non-biological origin or composition).”

Select one of the following options.

Yes.

No. (A “No” vote would support retaining the current Article III: “All sentient entities shall be granted equal and total access to any universal rights to life.”)

Abstain.

Amendment TBR-XII. Integration of Transhumanist Bill of Rights, Article XII, and UN Declaration Article 16:

Shall Article XII be amended to read as follows?

“All sentient entities are entitled to reproductive freedom, including through novel means such as the creation of mind clones, monoparent children, or benevolent artificial general intelligence. All sentient entities of full age and competency, without any limitation due to race, nationality, religion, or origin, have the right to marry and found a family or to found a family as single heads of household. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage, and at its dissolution. Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses. All families, including families formed through novel means, are entitled to protection by society and the State. All sentient entities also have the right to prevent unauthorized reproduction of themselves in both a physical and a digital context. Privacy and security legislation should be enacted to prevent any individual’s DNA, data, or other information from being stolen and duplicated without that individual’s authorization.”

Select one of the following options.

Yes.

No. (A “No” vote would support retaining the current Article XII: “All sentient entities are entitled to reproductive freedom, including through novel means such as the creation of mind clones, monoparent children, or benevolent artificial general intelligence. All sentient entities also have the right to prevent unauthorized reproduction of themselves in both a physical and a digital context. Privacy and security legislation should be enacted to prevent any individual’s DNA, data, or other information from being stolen and duplicated without that individual’s authorization.”)

Abstain.

Amendment TBR-XIII. Integration of Transhumanist Bill of Rights, Article XIII, and UN Declaration Article 12:

Shall Article XIII be amended to read as follows?

“No sentient entity shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his, her, or its privacy, family, home, or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his, her, or its honor and reputation. Every sentient entity has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks. All sentient entities have privacy rights to personal data, genetic material, digital, biographic, physical, and intellectual enhancements, and consciousness. Despite the differences between physical and virtual worlds, equal protections for privacy should apply to both physical and digital environments. Any data, such as footage from a public security camera, archived without the consent of the person(s) about whom the data were gathered and subject to legal retention, shall be removed after a period of seven (7) years, unless otherwise requested by said person(s).”

Select one of the following options.

Yes.

No. (A “No” vote would support retaining the current Article XIII: “All sentient entities have privacy rights to personal data, genetic material, digital, biographic, physical, and intellectual enhancements, and consciousness. Despite the differences between physical and virtual worlds, equal protections for privacy should apply to both physical and digital environments. Any data, such as footage from a public security camera, archived without the consent of the person(s) about whom the data were gathered and subject to legal retention, shall be removed after a period of seven (7) years, unless otherwise requested by said person(s).”)

Abstain.

Amendment TBR-XIV. Integration of Transhumanist Bill of Rights, Article XIV, and UN Declaration Article 9:

Shall Article XIV be amended to read as follows?

“No sentient entity shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile. Sousveillance laws should be enacted to ensure that all members of peaceful communities feel safe, to achieve governmental transparency, and to provide counter-balances to any surveillance state. For instance, law-enforcement officials, when interacting with the public, should be required to wear body cameras or similar devices continuously monitoring their activities.”

Select one of the following options.

Yes.

No. (A “No” vote would support retaining the current Article XIV: “Sousveillance laws should be enacted to ensure that all members of peaceful communities feel safe, to achieve governmental transparency, and to provide counter-balances to any surveillance state. For instance, law-enforcement officials, when interacting with the public, should be required to wear body cameras or similar devices continuously monitoring their activities.”)

Abstain.

Amendment TBR-XVI. Integration of Transhumanist Bill of Rights, Article XVI, and UN Declaration Article 7:

Shall Article XVI be amended to read as follows?

“All sentient entities are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All sentient entities are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this TRANSHUMANIST BILL OF RIGHTS and against any incitement to such discrimination. All sentient entities should be protected from discrimination based on their physical form in the context of business transactions and law enforcement.”

Select one of the following options.

Yes.

No. (A “No” vote would support retaining the current Article XVI: “All sentient entities should be protected from discrimination based on their physical form in the context of business transactions and law enforcement.”)

Abstain.

Amendment TBR-XVII. Integration of Transhumanist Bill of Rights, Article XVII, and UN Declaration Article 3:

Shall Article XVII be amended to read as follows?

“All sentient entities have the right to life, liberty and security of person. All sentient entities have the right to defend themselves from attack, in both physical and virtual worlds.”

Select one of the following options.

Yes.

No. (A “No” vote would support retaining the current Article XVII: “All sentient entities have the right to defend themselves from attack, in both physical and virtual worlds.”)

Abstain.

Amendment TBR-XVIII. Integration of Transhumanist Bill of Rights, Article XVIII, and UN Declaration Articles 22 and 25:

Shall Article XVIII be amended to read as follows?

“Societies of the present and future should afford all sentient entities sufficient basic access to wealth and resources to sustain the basic requirements of existence in a civilized society and function as the foundation for pursuits of self-improvement. This includes the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of oneself and one’s family, including food or other necessary sources of energy, clothing, housing or other appropriate shelter, medical care or other necessary physical maintenance, necessary social services, and the right of security in the event of involuntary unemployment, sickness, disability, loss of family support, old age, or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond the sentient entity’s control. Present and future societies should ensure that their members will not live in poverty solely for being born to the wrong parents. All children and other recently created sentient entities, irrespective of the manner or circumstances of their creation, shall enjoy the same social protection. Each sentient entity, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social, and cultural rights indispensable for his, her, or its dignity and the free development of his, her, or its personality.”

Select one of the following options.

Yes.

No. (A “No” vote would support retaining the current Article XVIII: “Societies of the present and future should afford all sentient entities sufficient basic access to wealth and resources to sustain the basic requirements of existence in a civilized society and function as the foundation for pursuits of self-improvement. Present and future societies should ensure that their members will not live in poverty solely for being born to the wrong parents.”)

Abstain.

Amendment TBR-XX. Integration of Transhumanist Bill of Rights, Article XX, and UN Declaration Article 26:

Shall Article XX be amended to read as follows?

“Present and future societies should provide education systems accessible and available to all in pursuit of factual knowledge to increase intellectual acuity; promote critical thinking and logic; foster creativity; form an enlightened collective; attain health; secure the bounty of liberty for all sentient entities for our posterity; and forge new ideas, meanings, and values. All sentient entities have the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available, and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit. Education shall be directed to the full development of the sentient entity’s personality and to the strengthening of respect for all sentient entities’ rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance, and friendship among all nations, racial, religious, and other sentient groups – whether biological, non-biological, or a combination thereof – and shall further the maintenance of peace. Parents and other creators of sentient entities have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children or other recently created sentient entities which have not yet developed sufficient maturity to select their own education.”

Select one of the following options.

Yes.

No. (A “No” vote would support retaining the current Article XX: “Present and future societies should provide education systems accessible and available to all in pursuit of factual knowledge to increase intellectual acuity; promote critical thinking and logic; foster creativity; form an enlightened collective; attain health; secure the bounty of liberty for all sentient entities for our posterity; and forge new ideas, meanings, and values.”)

Abstain.

Amendment TBR-XXV. Addition of New Article to Prohibit Slavery and Involuntary Servitude, Per UN Declaration Article 4:

Shall Article XXV be replaced to read as follows?

“No sentient entity shall be held in slavery or involuntary servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.”

Select one of the following options.

Yes.

No. (A “No” vote would support retaining the current Article XXV: “In addition to the rights enumerated herein, this TRANSHUMANIST BILL OF RIGHTS hereby incorporates by reference all of the rights expressed in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and hereby extends these rights to all entities encompassed by this TRANSHUMANIST BILL OF RIGHTS.” However, please note that the other contents of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights are being proposed for direct adaptation into the Transhumanist Bill of Rights within other amendments for consideration on this ballot. Thus, the substantive effect of a “Yes” vote would not be to remove all of the other rights referenced in the UN Declaration, but rather it would support the integration of those rights directly into the Transhumanist Bill of Rights.)

Abstain.

Amendment TBR-XXVI. Addition of New Article to Prohibit Torture and Cruel Punishment, Per UN Declaration Article 5:

Shall a new Article be added to read as follows?

“No sentient entity shall be subjected to torture or to treatment or punishment that is cruel, degrading, inhuman, or otherwise unworthy of sentience or sapience.”

Select one of the following options.

Yes.

No.

Abstain.

Amendment TBR-XXVII. Addition of New Article on Recognition Before the Law, Per UN Declaration Article 6:

Shall a new Article be added to read as follows?

“Each sentient entity has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.”

Select one of the following options.

Yes.

No.

Abstain.

Amendment TBR-XXVIII. Addition of New Article on Effective Remedy – Expanded Version of UN Declaration Article 8:

Shall a new Article be added to read as follows?

“All individual sentient entities have the right to an effective remedy by the competent local, national, international, or interplanetary tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted them by the constitution, by law, and/or by this TRANSHUMANIST BILL OF RIGHTS.”

Select one of the following options.

Yes.

No.

Abstain.

Amendment TBR-XXIX. Addition of New Article on Public Hearings for Criminal Charges – Per UN Declaration Article 10:

Shall a new Article be added to read as follows?

“All individual sentient entities are entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of their individual rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against them.”

Select one of the following options.

Yes.

No.

Abstain.

Amendment TBR-XXX. Addition of New Article on Presumption of Innocence – Per  UN Declaration Article 11:

Shall a new Article be added to read as follows?

“All individual sentient entities charged with a penal offence have the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which they individually have had all the guarantees necessary for their defense. No sentient entity shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.”

Select one of the following options.

Yes.

No.

Abstain.

Amendment TBR-XXXI. Addition of New Article on Freedom of Movement – Per  UN Declaration Article 13:

Shall a new Article be added to read as follows?

“All sentient entities have the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state. Each individual sentient entity has the right to leave any country, including his, her, or its own, and to return to his, her, or its country.”

Select one of the following options.

Yes.

No.

Abstain.

Amendment TBR-XXXII. Addition of New Article on Right to Seek Asylum – Per  UN Declaration Article 14:

Shall a new Article be added to read as follows?

“All sentient entities have the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution. This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of this TRANSHUMANIST BILL OF RIGHTS.”

Select one of the following options.

Yes.

No.

Abstain.

Amendment TBR-XXXIII. Addition of New Article on Right to Nationality – Per  UN Declaration Article 15:

Shall a new Article be added to read as follows?

“All sentient entities have the right to a nationality. No sentient entity shall be arbitrarily deprived of his, her, or its nationality nor denied the right to change his, her, or its nationality.”

Select one of the following options.

Yes.

No.

Abstain.

Amendment TBR-XXXIV. Addition of New Article on Right to Property – Per  UN Declaration Article 17:

Shall a new Article be added to read as follows?

“All sentient entities have the right to own property alone as well as in association with others. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his, her, or its property.”

Select one of the following options.

Yes.

No.

Abstain.

Amendment TBR-XXXV. Addition of New Article on Religious Freedom – Expanded Version of UN Declaration Article 18:

Shall a new Article be added to read as follows?

“All sentient entities have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change one’s religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest one’s religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance. This right also includes freedom not to have a religion and to criticize or refuse to engage in any religious practice or belief without adverse legal consequences.”

Select one of the following options.

Yes.

No.

Abstain.

Amendment TBR-XXXVI. Addition of New Article on Freedom of Opinion and Expression – Per  UN Declaration Article 19:

Shall a new Article be added to read as follows?

“All sentient entities have the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

Select one of the following options.

Yes.

No.

Abstain.

Amendment TBR-XXXVII. Addition of New Article on Peaceful Assembly and Association – Per  UN Declaration Article 20:

Shall a new Article be added to read as follows?

“All sentient entities have the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association. No sentient entity may be compelled to belong to an association.”

Select one of the following options.

Yes.

No.

Abstain.

Amendment TBR-XXXVIII. Addition of New Article on Right of Political Participation – Per  UN Declaration Article 21:

Shall a new Article be added to read as follows?

“All sentient entities have the right to take part in the government of their countries, directly or through freely chosen representatives. All sentient entities have the right of equal access to public service in their countries. The will of the constituent sentient entities shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage of sentient entities and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.”

Select one of the following options.

Yes.

No.

Abstain.

Amendment TBR-XXXIX. Addition of New Article on Right to Work – Modified Version of UN Declaration Article 23:

Shall a new Article be added to read as follows?

“All sentient entities have the right to work, to free choice of employment, and to just and favorable conditions of work, as long as employment is offered or considered economically necessary in the sentient entity’s proximate society and contemporary epoch. All sentient entities who choose to work have the right to equal pay for equal work. All sentient entities who choose to work have the right to just and favorable remuneration, ensuring for themselves and their families an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection, such as a universal basic income. All sentient entities have the right to form and join trade unions for the protection of their interests; however, no sentient entity may be compelled to join a trade union as a condition of employment.”

Select one of the following options.

Yes.

No.

Abstain.

Amendment TBR-XL. Addition of New Article on Right to Rest and Leisure – Modified Version of UN Declaration Article 24:

Shall a new Article be added to read as follows?

“All sentient entities have the right to rest and leisure commensurate with the physical requirements of those sentient entities for maintaining optimal physical and mental health, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay in societies where paid employment is considered economically necessary.”

Select one of the following options.

Yes.

No.

Abstain.

Amendment TBR-XLI. Addition of New Article on Right of Cultural Participation – Per  UN Declaration Article 27:

Shall a new Article be added to read as follows?

“All sentient entities have the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts, and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits. All sentient entities have the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary, or artistic production of which they are the authors.”

Select one of the following options.

Yes.

No.

Abstain.

Amendment TBR-XLII. Addition of New Article on Right to Social and International Order – Per  UN Declaration Article 28:

Shall a new Article be added to read as follows?

“All sentient entities are entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this TRANSHUMANIST BILL OF RIGHTS can be fully realized.”

Select one of the following options.

Yes.

No.

Abstain.

Amendment TBR-XLIII. Addition of New Article to Oppose Destruction of Rights and Freedoms – Per  UN Declaration Article 30:

Shall a new Article be added to read as follows?

“Nothing in this TRANSHUMANIST BILL OF RIGHTS may be interpreted as implying for any State, group, or sentient entity any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.”

Select one of the following options.

Yes.

No.

Abstain.

15-Day Exposure Period for Clarifying Amendments to the Transhumanist Bill of Rights

15-Day Exposure Period for Clarifying Amendments to the Transhumanist Bill of Rights

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The U.S. Transhumanist Party will hold an electronic vote of the membership for a seven-day period ending on 12:01 a.m. U.S. Pacific Time on Sunday, December 2, 2018, regarding proposed amendments to the Transhumanist Bill of Rights, Version 2.0. During the present 15-day exposure period, members are welcome to suggest additional amendments for consideration, with the caveat that the amendments in question should be considered to be incremental and clarifying modifications to the Transhumanist Bill of Rights and not radical revisions of the principles behind it – principles which have largely been democratically agreed upon among the U.S. Transhumanist Party membership and which have been further elaborated upon within the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform.

The initial clarifying changes exposed here are proposed in response to some misleading media coverage of the Transhumanist Bill of Rights, Version 2.o – coverage that goes beyond positing critical opinions and misrepresents the very text of the Transhumanist Bill of Rights, reading into it provisions that are not there. Accordingly, clarifying changes to the wording may prevent and/or dispel such factual misrepresentations.

For instance, the U.S. Transhumanist Party notes that following misconceptions are salient in a recent article by Jasper Hamill in The Metro. While Mr. Hammill does cite many of the remarks of U.S. Transhumanist Party Chairman Gennady Stolyarov II, which generally characterize the purpose and context of the Transhumanist Bill of Rights, Mr. Hammill, in his analysis, also unfortunately borrows extensively from a factually flawed article by Michael Cook on the bioconservative website BioEdge.  It is always of concern to the U.S. Transhumanist Party when commentators do not clearly distinguish the facts of a given matter – such as what a document actually says – from the ideological lens through which they perceive that matter.

• For example, Mr. Hammill writes, “The bill aims to give all these entities the right to take total control of their own bodies, allowing them to use technology to boost their lifespan or seek euthanasia to end ‘involuntary suffering’.” The U.S. Transhumanist Party responds: The right to end involuntary suffering in Article IV does not refer to euthanasia. It refers to the idea that suffering itself should be abolished for still-living entities who desire this, as expressed in David Pearce’s philosophy of abolitionism. To equate this to euthanasia is short-sighted and fails to appreciate how technology can alleviate suffering without ending life; furthermore, such a portrayal reveals Mr. Hammill’s lack of research into a key philosophical strain within the transhumanist movement and the extent to which transhumanists recognize the possibilities of technology to be truly transformative in enhancing human well-being. The U.S. Transhumanist Party does have Article III, Section L, of its Platform, which supports a highly limited and regulated right to be prescribed a life-ending substance for self-administration by terminally ill patients – but that is nothing like “euthanasia” as commonly understood. Hence, it is important to clarify in Article IV of the Transhumanist Bill of Rights that this Article does not imply a right to euthanasia.

• Mr. Hammill further writes, “It also calls for reproductive freedom, open government, NHS-style healthcare and a universal income given to people whose jobs will ‘inevitably’ be replaced by technology.” The U.S. Transhumanist Party responds: Nowhere in the Transhumanist Bill of Rights is “NHS-style” anything advocated. The right to universal healthcare, as specified in Article VII, does not inherently presuppose any monopolistic, single-payer system and was left deliberately open-ended. Many of the planks in the Platform advocate for significant free-market elements in healthcare systems. Universal healthcare could mean, for instance, that all services become so inexpensive and automated that everyone would be able to readily afford them. However, different members of the U.S. Transhumanist Party would advocate different systems of healthcare delivery. The Transhumanist Bill of Rights focuses on outcomes, rather than prescribing the specific delivery system – and hence it is desirable to clarify Article VII to ensure that the pursuit of universal healthcare can remain open-ended and potentially be arrived at through a variety of means, including those not yet conceived of, while allowing discussion and debate to continue within the transhumanist community about whether private or governmental means, or a combination thereof, would be most effective in achieving radical life extension and universal access to healthcare in the most expeditious timeframe possible.

• The U.S. Transhumanist Party further responds: While U.S. Transhumanist Party members have held various perspectives about the impacts of automation and the future effects that automation would have on opportunities for paid employment, it is important for a bill of rights to endeavor to express universal principles regarding desirable treatment of sentient entities, independent of contingent events (such as whether or not automation will “inevitably” render paid employment obsolete). There are many good reasons to advocate a universal, unconditional basic income even in a world where most people continue to work for a living and earn the majority of their income through traditional jobs.  Accordingly, broadening the starting clause of Article XIX to accommodate a variety of outcomes with regard to the future of automation and employment would strengthen the advocacy of universal basic income in the Transhumanist Bill of Rights.

• Mr. Hammill states that the Transhumanist Bill of Rights “incorporates elements of socialism”, and while there is some common ground in the Transhumanist Bill of Rights with positions that some socialists would find sympathetic, Mr. Hammill’s article curiously does not mention common elements with other political ideologies. It is possible that socialism was singled out because Mr. Hammill wanted to put this document in some pre-existing conceptual pigeonhole, failing to recognize that it is intended to transcend all conventional ideologies, as Chairman Stolyarov recently discussed at length and was even quoted as stating in Mr. Hammill’s article.

• Additionally it has come to the attention of the U.S. Transhumanist Party that Article XXI, which states that “All sentient entities are entitled to join their psyches to a collective noosphere in an effort to preserve self-consciousness in perpetuity”, has often not been sufficiently understood by the general public, even though it expresses a prerogative that is accessible even using today’s technologies. Accordingly, it is desirable for the Transhumanist Bill of Rights to clarify what the noosphere is and that there exist a variety of options for participating in it.

During the exposure period, please post your comments on this thread. If you post comments intended to be considered in voting and/or amending the Transhumanist Bill of Rights in any other electronic medium, please note that you thereby give your consent to have your comments reproduced with attribution or linked within this discussion thread, in order to direct members’ attention and consideration to them.

After the exposure period, a 7-day electronic voting period will occur from 12:01 a.m. U.S. Pacific Time on Sunday, December 2, 2018, to 12:01 a.m.  U.S. Pacific Time on Sunday December 9, 2018. Instructions for electronic voting will be sent to members of the U.S. Transhumanist Party via e-mail. All individuals who are members of the U.S. Transhumanist Party as of the end of the exposure period and who have expressed agreement with its three Core Ideals will be eligible to vote thereafter. You can still vote if you become a member during the exposure period, so please apply here if you are interested. During the 7-day electronic voting period, you will still be able to become a member – but you will only be able to vote in subsequent elections, since we seek for voting on any given issue to be done by those members who have had an opportunity to thoroughly consider that issue and be involved in deliberations regarding it.

Electronic voting will be conducted by a ranked-preference method. Members will be able to rank-order their preferred selections on each individual proposed amendment to the Transhumanist Bill of Rights. The original text of each Article will be available for selection, as well as any reasonable amendments proposed by any member. Leadership of the Transhumanist Party reserves the right to edit any proposed amendment for correctness of spelling and grammar only – but not with regard to the substance, unless the person proposing the amendment requests or consents to a substantive edit.  Members will also be able to abstain from voting on any given article.

The ranked-preference method has the advantage of eliminating a “winner-take-all” or “first-past-the-post” mentality and preventing people from being channeled into voting for sub-optimal choices (in their view) just because they fear an even less palatable alternative prevailing. Within the ranked-preference methodology, if no option obtains a clear majority as voters’ first choice, the option having the fewest first-choice votes is eliminated from consideration, and all those who voted for that option will have their votes assigned to their second-choice options. This process of elimination continues until one particular option has a clear majority of votes.

The Transhumanist Party encourages all members to participate in this process and for other transhumanists to sign up for membership during the exposure period. 

The Amendment titles below are informational only and will not be included in the adopted versions of the platform planks. Other proposed amendments and options for each amendment will be posted here during the exposure period as member suggestions are received.


Options for Proposed Amendments

Amendment TBR-IV. Clarification Regarding the Right to End Involuntary Suffering

Proposal TBR-IV-1: Amend Article IV to add the following statement at the end:

“The right of ending involuntary suffering does not refer to euthanasia but rather to the application of technology to eliminate involuntary suffering in still-living beings, while enabling their lives to continue with improved quality and length.”

Amendment TBR-VII. Clarification Regarding Universal Healthcare

Proposal TBR-VII-1: Amend Article VII to add the following statement at the end:

“A system of universal healthcare does not necessitate any particular means, policy framework, source, or method of payment for delivering healthcare. A system of universal healthcare may be provided privately, by governments, or by some combination thereof, as long as, in practice, healthcare is abundant, inexpensive, accessible, and effective in curing diseases, healing injuries, and lengthening lifespans.”

Proposal TBR-VII-2 [Based on Proposal by Didier Coeurnelle]: Amend Article VII to add the following statement at the end:

“A system of universal healthcare does not necessitate any particular means, policy framework, source, or method of payment for delivering healthcare. A system of universal healthcare may be provided by public institutions, by private organizations, or by some combination thereof, as long as there are legal guarantees that healthcare is to become abundant, inexpensive, accessible, and effective in curing diseases, healing injuries, and lengthening lifespans.”

Amendment TBR-XIX. Expansion of the Context for Universal Basic Income

Proposal TBR-XIX-1: Replace the starting clause of the Article (“Given the inevitability of technology eventually replacing the need for the labor of sentient entities,”) with an alternative clause: “Irrespective of whether or not technology will eventually replace the need for the labor of sentient entities,” – such that the revised Article XIX would read as follows:

“Irrespective of whether or not technology will eventually replace the need for the labor of sentient entities, all sentient entities should be the beneficiaries of an unconditional universal basic income, whereby the same minimum amount of money or other resources is provided irrespective of a sentient entity’s life circumstances, occupations, or other income sources, so as to provide a means for the basic requirements of existence and liberty to be met.”

Amendment TBR-XXI. Additional Information Regarding the Noosphere

Proposal TBR-XXI-1: Amend Article XXI to add the following statement at the end:

“The noosphere is the sphere of human thought and includes, but is not limited to, intellectual systems in the realm of law, education, philosophy, technology, art, culture, and industry. All sentient entities have the right to participate in the noosphere using any level of technology that is conducive to constructive participation.”

Options for Proposed Amendments to Integrate the Provisions of the United Nations Universal Declarations of Human Rights (“UN Declaration”)

Amendment TBR-I. Integration of Transhumanist Bill of Rights, Article I, and UN Declaration Articles 2 and 29:

Proposal TBR-III-1: Amend Article I to read as follows: 

“All sentient entities are hereby entitled to pursue any and all rights within this TRANSHUMANIST BILL OF RIGHTS to the degree that they deem desirable – including not at all. All sentient entities are entitled, to the extent of their individual decisions, to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this TRANSHUMANIST BILL OF RIGHTS, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, gender, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, social, or planetary origin, property, birth (including manner of birth), biological or non-biological origins, or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a sentient entity belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing, or under any other limitation of sovereignty. In the exercise of their rights and freedoms, all sentient entities shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order, and the general welfare in a democratic society, which may not undermine the peaceful prerogatives of any individual sentient entity. These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of this TRANSHUMANIST BILL OF RIGHTS.”

Amendment TBR-III. Integration of Transhumanist Bill of Rights, Article III, and UN Declaration Article 1:

Proposal TBR-III-1: Amend Article III to read as follows: 

“All sentient entities shall be granted equal and total access to any universal rights to life. All sentient entities are created free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood (without necessitating any particular gender or implying any particular biological or non-biological origin or composition).”

Amendment TBR-XII. Integration of Transhumanist Bill of Rights, Article XII, and UN Declaration Article 16:

Proposal TBR-XII-1: Amend Article XII to read as follows:

“All sentient entities are entitled to reproductive freedom, including through novel means such as the creation of mind clones, monoparent children, or benevolent artificial general intelligence. All sentient entities of full age and competency, without any limitation due to race, nationality, religion, or origin, have the right to marry and found a family or to found a family as single heads of household. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage, and at its dissolution. Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses. All families, including families formed through novel means, are entitled to protection by society and the State. All sentient entities also have the right to prevent unauthorized reproduction of themselves in both a physical and a digital context. Privacy and security legislation should be enacted to prevent any individual’s DNA, data, or other information from being stolen and duplicated without that individual’s authorization.”

Amendment TBR-XIII. Integration of Transhumanist Bill of Rights, Article XIII, and UN Declaration Article 12:

Proposal TBR-XIII-1: Amend Article XIII to read as follows:

“No sentient entity shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his, her, or its privacy, family, home, or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his, her, or its honor and reputation. Every sentient entity has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks. All sentient entities have privacy rights to personal data, genetic material, digital, biographic, physical, and intellectual enhancements, and consciousness. Despite the differences between physical and virtual worlds, equal protections for privacy should apply to both physical and digital environments. Any data, such as footage from a public security camera, archived without the consent of the person(s) about whom the data were gathered and subject to legal retention, shall be removed after a period of seven (7) years, unless otherwise requested by said person(s).”

Amendment TBR-XIV. Integration of Transhumanist Bill of Rights, Article XIV, and UN Declaration Article 9:

Proposal TBR-XIV-1: Amend Article XIV to read as follows:

“No sentient entity shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile. Sousveillance laws should be enacted to ensure that all members of peaceful communities feel safe, to achieve governmental transparency, and to provide counter-balances to any surveillance state. For instance, law-enforcement officials, when interacting with the public, should be required to wear body cameras or similar devices continuously monitoring their activities.”

Amendment TBR-XVI. Integration of Transhumanist Bill of Rights, Article XVI, and UN Declaration Article 7:

Proposal TBR-XVI-1: Amend Article XVI to read as follows:

“All sentient entities are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All sentient entities are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this TRANSHUMANIST BILL OF RIGHTS and against any incitement to such discrimination. All sentient entities should be protected from discrimination based on their physical form in the context of business transactions and law enforcement.”

Amendment TBR-XVII. Integration of Transhumanist Bill of Rights, Article XVII, and UN Declaration Article 3:

Proposal TBR-XVII-1: Amend Article XVII to read as follows: 

“All sentient entities have the right to life, liberty and security of person. All sentient entities have the right to defend themselves from attack, in both physical and virtual worlds.”

Amendment TBR-XVIII. Integration of Transhumanist Bill of Rights, Article XVIII, and UN Declaration Articles 22 and 25:

Proposal TBR-XVIII-1: Amend Article XVIII to read as follows: 

“Societies of the present and future should afford all sentient entities sufficient basic access to wealth and resources to sustain the basic requirements of existence in a civilized society and function as the foundation for pursuits of self-improvement. This includes the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of oneself and one’s family, including food or other necessary sources of energy, clothing, housing or other appropriate shelter, medical care or other necessary physical maintenance, necessary social services, and the right of security in the event of involuntary unemployment, sickness, disability, loss of family support, old age, or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond the sentient entity’s control. Present and future societies should ensure that their members will not live in poverty solely for being born to the wrong parents. All children and other recently created sentient entities, irrespective of the manner or circumstances of their creation, shall enjoy the same social protection. Each sentient entity, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social, and cultural rights indispensable for his, her, or its dignity and the free development of his, her, or its personality.”

Amendment TBR-XX. Integration of Transhumanist Bill of Rights, Article XX, and UN Declaration Article 26:

Proposal TBR-XX-1: Amend Article XX to read as follows: 

“Present and future societies should provide education systems accessible and available to all in pursuit of factual knowledge to increase intellectual acuity; promote critical thinking and logic; foster creativity; form an enlightened collective; attain health; secure the bounty of liberty for all sentient entities for our posterity; and forge new ideas, meanings, and values. All sentient entities have the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available, and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit. Education shall be directed to the full development of the sentient entity’s personality and to the strengthening of respect for all sentient entities’ rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance, and friendship among all nations, racial, religious, and other sentient groups – whether biological, non-biological, or a combination thereof – and shall further the maintenance of peace. Parents and creators of sentient entities have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children or other recently created sentient entities which have not yet developed sufficient maturity to select their own education.”

Amendment TBR-XXV. Addition of New Article to Prohibit Slavery and Involuntary Servitude, Per UN Declaration Article 4:

Proposal TBR-XXV-1: Replace Article XXV with the following text:

“No sentient entity shall be held in slavery or involuntary servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.”

Amendment TBR-XXVI. Addition of New Article to Prohibit Torture and Cruel Punishment, Per UN Declaration Article 5:

Proposal TBR-XXVI-1: Add a new Article to read as follows:

“No sentient entity shall be subjected to torture or to treatment or punishment that is cruel, degrading, inhuman, or otherwise unworthy of sentience or sapience.”

Amendment TBR-XXVII. Addition of New Article on Recognition Before the Law, Per UN Declaration Article 6:

Proposal TBR-XXVII-1: Add a new Article to read as follows:

“Each sentient entity has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.”

Amendment TBR-XXVIII. Addition of New Article on Effective Remedy – Expanded Version of UN Declaration Article 8:

Proposal TBR-XXVIII-1: Add a new Article to read as follows:

“All individual sentient entities have the right to an effective remedy by the competent local, national, international, or interplanetary tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted them by the constitution, by law, and/or by this TRANSHUMANIST BILL OF RIGHTS.”

Amendment TBR-XXIX. Addition of New Article on Public Hearings for Criminal Charges – Per UN Declaration Article 10:

Proposal TBR-XXIX-1: Add a new Article to read as follows:

“All individual sentient entities are entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of their individual rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against them.”

Amendment TBR-XXX. Addition of New Article on Presumption of Innocence – Per  UN Declaration Article 11:

Proposal TBR-XXX-1: Add a new Article to read as follows:

“All individual sentient entities charged with a penal offence have the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which they individually have had all the guarantees necessary for their defense. No sentient entity shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.”

Amendment TBR-XXXI. Addition of New Article on Freedom of Movement – Per  UN Declaration Article 13:

Proposal TBR-XXXI-1: Add a new Article to read as follows:

“All sentient entities have the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state. Each individual sentient entity has the right to leave any country, including his, her, or its own, and to return to his, her, or its country.”

Amendment TBR-XXXII. Addition of New Article on Right to Seek Asylum – Per  UN Declaration Article 14:

Proposal TBR-XXXII-1: Add a new Article to read as follows:

“All sentient entities have the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution. This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of this TRANSHUMANIST BILL OF RIGHTS.”

Amendment TBR-XXXIII. Addition of New Article on Right to Nationality – Per  UN Declaration Article 15:

Proposal TBR-XXXIII-1: Add a new Article to read as follows:

“All sentient entities have the right to a nationality. No sentient entity shall be arbitrarily deprived of his, her, or its nationality nor denied the right to change his, her, or its nationality.”

Amendment TBR-XXXIV. Addition of New Article on Right to Property – Per  UN Declaration Article 17:

Proposal TBR-XXXIV-1: Add a new Article to read as follows:

“All sentient entities have the right to own property alone as well as in association with others. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his, her, or its property.”

Amendment TBR-XXXV. Addition of New Article on Religious Freedom – Expanded Version of UN Declaration Article 18:

Proposal TBR-XXXV-1: Add a new Article to read as follows:

“All sentient entities have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change one’s religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest one’s religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance. This right also includes freedom not to have a religion and to criticize or refuse to engage in any religious practice or belief without adverse legal consequences.”

Amendment TBR-XXXVI. Addition of New Article on Freedom of Opinion and Expression – Per  UN Declaration Article 19:

Proposal TBR-XXXVI-1: Add a new Article to read as follows:

“All sentient entities have the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

Amendment TBR-XXXVII. Addition of New Article on Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association – Per  UN Declaration Article 20:

Proposal TBR-XXXVII-1: Add a new Article to read as follows:

“All sentient entities have the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association. No sentient entity may be compelled to belong to an association.”

Amendment TBR-XXXVIII. Addition of New Article on Right of Political Participation – Per  UN Declaration Article 21:

Proposal TBR-XXXVIII-1: Add a new Article to read as follows:

“All sentient entities have the right to take part in the government of their countries, directly or through freely chosen representatives. All sentient entities have the right of equal access to public service in their countries. The will of the constituent sentient entities shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage of sentient entities and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.”

Amendment TBR-XXXIX. Addition of New Article on Right to Work – Modified Version of UN Declaration Article 23:

Proposal TBR-XXXIX-1: Add a new Article to read as follows: 

“All sentient entities have the right to work, to free choice of employment, and to just and favorable conditions of work, as long as employment is offered or considered economically necessary in the sentient entity’s proximate society and contemporary epoch. All sentient entities who choose to work have the right to equal pay for equal work. All sentient entities who choose to work have the right to just and favorable remuneration, ensuring for themselves and their families an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection, such as a universal basic income. All sentient entities have the right to form and join trade unions for the protection of their interests; however, no sentient entity may be compelled to join a trade union as a condition of employment.”

Amendment TBR-XL. Addition of New Article on Right to Rest and Leisure – Modified Version of UN Declaration Article 24:

Proposal TBR-XL-1: Add a new Article to read as follows:

“All sentient entities have the right to rest and leisure commensurate with the physical requirements of those sentient entities for maintaining optimal physical and mental health, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay in societies where paid employment is considered economically necessary.”

Amendment TBR-XLI. Addition of New Article on Right of Cultural Participation – Per  UN Declaration Article 27:

Proposal TBR-XLI-1: Add a new Article to read as follows:

“All sentient entities have the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts, and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits. All sentient entities have the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary, or artistic production of which they are the authors.”

Amendment TBR-XLII. Addition of New Article on Right to Social and International Order – Per  UN Declaration Article 28:

Proposal TBR-XLII-1: Add a new Article to read as follows:

“All sentient entities are entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this TRANSHUMANIST BILL OF RIGHTS can be fully realized.”

Amendment TBR-XLIII. Addition of New Article to Oppose Destruction of Rights and Freedoms – Per  UN Declaration Article 30:

Proposal TBR-XLIII-1: Add a new Article to read as follows:

“Nothing in this TRANSHUMANIST BILL OF RIGHTS may be interpreted as implying for any State, group, or sentient entity any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.”

 


Andrew Yang, Dreams, and Tacos – Meeting with the Technoprogressive 2020 Presidential Candidate – Article by Keith Yu

Andrew Yang, Dreams, and Tacos – Meeting with the Technoprogressive 2020 Presidential Candidate – Article by Keith Yu

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Editor’s Note: The U.S. Transhumanist Party features this article by Keith Yu as part of its ongoing integration with the Transhuman Party. This article was originally published on the Transhuman Party website on June 1, 2018, and discusses Mr. Yu’s experiences meeting with Democratic technoprogressive Presidential candidate Andrew Yang. The U.S. Transhumanist Party has not endorsed Andrew Yang as of this publication and would not endorse a candidate running for either of the major U.S. political parties, but we do consider our website  to be a place where members can discuss political issues and candidates relevant to transhumanism from a multiplicity of viewpoints so as to encourage conversations about desirable policies as well as which candidate(s) the U.S. Transhumanist Party  could consider endorsing for the 2020 election season. 

~ Gennady Stolyarov II, Chairman, United States Transhumanist Party, December 29, 2018


I walk into the back room of the San Francisco Mission district’s Tacolicious Wednesday evening with a purpose. I am here for a meet and greet with 2020 presidential candidate Andrew Yang and I am armed – with questions. Questions derived from the past few months researching this man whose values seem to so naturally align with my own. Questions from myself as well as from the Transhumanist community at large.

Andrew greets me with a warm smile and a hand. Keith Yu, I introduce myself, of the Transhuman Party. He is interested, but inquisitive, and asks me what Transhumanism is about. I tell him that we envision a future-proofed human race that will thrive as we head towards the future.

“Would you call me a Transhumanist?” he asks. But I think this is something that he needs to decide for himself. He is, however, definitively technoprogressive. The primary plank on his platform, his “Freedom Dividend” (named thus, he jokes, because it tested well with people on all sides of the political spectrum) of $1000 a month to all adult citizens, is a direct response to the job losses caused by automation, now, and in the near future. Indeed, the reason for his bid for presidency is due to the lack of a plan to address these concerns in DC. “I will become the plan,” he says. Beyond the Freedom Dividend, many of his other policy positions put an emphasis on investing in technology and especially, understanding technology’s effects on people – a cautious optimist, as far as technology is concerned.

People filter in slowly, most giving Andrew hugs, a few, handshakes. Most attendees of this small gathering, it seems, are friends. Servers wander around and between mingling groups, ceviche tostadas and bruschetta at the ready. A margarita bar sits in the corner of the room, and specialty tacos adorn a table along the wall. We are soon gathered in a semicircle around the room as Andrew takes the stage.

He gestures to the screen behind him and an introduction video begins to play.

Andrew speaks at length about his universal basic income (UBI) policy as well as his slogan, “Humanity First”, and how it translates into his policy platform. Andrew plans to change the way America measures its progress by adopting such measurements as childhood success, median wealth, incarceration rates, and more, on top of the existing measurements of GDP and job statistics. He also plans to implement a system of digital-social currency for “doing good things that normally don’t have dollar values”, such as volunteering for one’s community or starting a book club. The credits can then be used redeem discounts or experiences in much the same way that credit card points are used. He believes that this credit system will help improve social cohesion and increase civic engagement.

But I have seen all of this before on his website and have even explored it in another article. I came here for a purpose, and as the floor is opened up for questions, I seize my chance.

“What are your views on longevity research?” I ask.

Andrew Yang responds. He is supportive of longevity research, but believes that it does not need much public support. Citing the efforts of Silicon Valley elites, he asserts that private interests will support longevity research naturally.

“And what are your views on the regulations around illegal and controlled substances for the purpose of research?”

Andrew initially misunderstands this question as a question about marijuana (which he supports for recreational and therapeutic use). Having botched the question initially, I follow up with him afterwards, mentioning the difficulty that researchers run into with the National Institute on Drug Abuse when trying to acquire controlled substances for their research. He tells me that he is very much supportive of research and is strongly against blanket criminalizations.

With the questions that I had come to ask out of the way, I wander over to the bar in the corner of the room and grab a margarita.

Mission complete.

Keith Yu is a Bay Area-based research scientist working within the biotech industry.

Review of Frank Pasquale’s “A Rule of Persons, Not Machines: The Limits of Legal Automation” – Article by Adam Alonzi

Review of Frank Pasquale’s “A Rule of Persons, Not Machines: The Limits of Legal Automation” – Article by Adam Alonzi

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Adam Alonzi


From the beginning Frank Pasquale, author of The Black Box Society: The Secret Algorithms That Control Money and Information, contends in his new paper “A Rule of Persons, Not Machines: The Limits of Legal Automation” that software, given its brittleness, is not designed to deal with the complexities of taking a case through court and establishing a verdict. As he understands it, an AI cannot deviate far from the rules laid down by its creator. This assumption, which is not even quite right at the present time, only slightly tinges an otherwise erudite, sincere, and balanced coverage of the topic. He does not show much faith in the use of past cases to create datasets for the next generation of paralegals, automated legal services, and, in the more distant future, lawyers and jurists.

Lawrence Zelanik has noted that when taxes were filed entirely on paper, provisions were limited to avoid unreasonably imposing irksome nuances on the average person. Tax-return software has eliminated this “complexity constraint.” He goes on to state that without this the laws, and the software that interprets it, are akin to a “black box” for those who must abide by them. William Gale has said taxes could be easily computed for “non-itemizers.” In other words, the government could use information it already has to present a “bill” to this class of taxpayers, saving time and money for all parties involved. However, simplification does not always align with everyone’s interests. TurboTax’s business, which is built entirely on helping ordinary people navigate the labyrinth is the American federal income tax, noticed a threat to its business model. This prompted it to put together a grassroots campaign to fight such measures. More than just another example of a business protecting its interests, it is an ominous foreshadowing of an escalation scenario that will transpire in many areas if and when legal AI becomes sufficiently advanced.  

Pasquale writes: “Technologists cannot assume that computational solutions to one problem will not affect the scope and nature of that problem. Instead, as technology enters fields, problems change, as various parties seek to either entrench or disrupt aspects of the present situation for their own advantage.”

What he is referring to here, in everything but name, is an arms race. The vastly superior computational powers of robot lawyers may make the already perverse incentive to make ever more Byzantine rules ever more attractive to bureaucracies and lawyers. The concern is that the clauses and dependencies hidden within contracts will quickly explode, making them far too detailed even for professionals to make sense of in a reasonable amount of time. Given that this sort of software may become a necessary accoutrement in most or all legal matters means that the demand for it, or for professionals with access to it, will expand greatly at the expense of those who are unwilling or unable to adopt it. This, though Pasquale only hints at it, may lead to greater imbalances in socioeconomic power. On the other hand, he does not consider the possibility of bottom-up open-source (or state-led) efforts to create synthetic public defenders. While this may seem idealistic, it is fairly clear that the open-source model can compete with and, in some areas, outperform proprietary competitors.

It is not unlikely that within subdomains of law that an array of arms races can and will arise between synthetic intelligences. If a lawyer knows its client is guilty, should it squeal? This will change the way jurisprudence works in many countries, but it would seem unwise to program any robot to knowingly lie about whether a crime, particularly a serious one, has been committed – including by omission. If it is fighting against a punishment it deems overly harsh for a given crime, for trespassing to get a closer look at a rabid raccoon or unintentional jaywalking, should it maintain its client’s innocence as a means to an end? A moral consequentialist, seeing no harm was done (or in some instances, could possibly have been done), may persist in pleading innocent. A synthetic lawyer may be more pragmatic than deontological, but it is not entirely correct, and certainly shortsighted, to (mis)characterize AI as only capable of blindly following a set of instructions, like a Fortran program made to compute the nth member of the Fibonacci series.

Human courts are rife with biases: judges give more lenient sentences after taking a lunch break (65% more likely to grant parole – nothing to spit at), attractive defendants are viewed favorably by unwashed juries and trained jurists alike, and the prejudices of all kinds exist against various “out” groups, which can tip the scales in favor of a guilty verdict or to harsher sentences. Why then would someone have an aversion to the introduction of AI into a system that is clearly ruled, in part, by the quirks of human psychology?  

DoNotPay is an an app that helps drivers fight parking tickets. It allows drivers with legitimate medical emergencies to gain exemptions. So, as Pasquale says, not only will traffic management be automated, but so will appeals. However, as he cautions, a flesh-and-blood lawyer takes responsibility for bad advice. The DoNotPay not only fails to take responsibility, but “holds its client responsible for when its proprietor is harmed by the interaction.” There is little reason to think machines would do a worse job of adhering to privacy guidelines than human beings unless, as mentioned in the example of a machine ratting on its client, there is some overriding principle that would compel them to divulge the information to protect several people from harm if their diagnosis in some way makes them as a danger in their personal or professional life. Is the client responsible for the mistakes of the robot it has hired? Should the blame not fall upon the firm who has provided the service?

Making a blockchain that could handle the demands of processing purchases and sales, one that takes into account all the relevant variables to make expert judgements on a matter, is no small task. As the infamous disagreement over the meaning of the word “chicken” in Frigaliment v. B.N.S International Sales Group illustrates, the definitions of what anything is can be a bit puzzling. The need to maintain a decent reputation to maintain sales is a strong incentive against knowingly cheating customers, but although cheating tends to be the exception for this reason, it is still necessary to protect against it. As one official on the  Commodity Futures Trading Commission put it, “where a smart contract’s conditions depend upon real-world data (e.g., the price of a commodity future at a given time), agreed-upon outside systems, called oracles, can be developed to monitor and verify prices, performance, or other real-world events.”  

Pasquale cites the SEC’s decision to force providers of asset-backed securities to file “downloadable source code in Python.” AmeriCredit responded by saying it  “should not be forced to predict and therefore program every possible slight iteration of all waterfall payments” because its business is “automobile loans, not software development.” AmeriTrade does not seem to be familiar with machine learning. There is a case for making all financial transactions and agreements explicit on an immutable platform like blockchain. There is also a case for making all such code open source, ready to be scrutinized by those with the talents to do so or, in the near future, by those with access to software that can quickly turn it into plain English, Spanish, Mandarin, Bantu, Etruscan, etc.

During the fallout of the 2008 crisis, some homeowners noticed the entities on their foreclosure paperwork did not match the paperwork they received when their mortgages were sold to a trust. According to Dayen (2010) many banks did not fill out the paperwork at all. This seems to be a rather forceful argument in favor of the incorporation of synthetic agents into law practices. Like many futurists Pasquale foresees an increase in “complementary automation.” The cooperation of chess engines with humans can still trounce the best AI out there. This is a commonly cited example of how two (very different) heads are better than one.  Yet going to a lawyer is not like visiting a tailor. People, including fairly delusional ones, know if their clothes fit. Yet they do not know whether they’ve received expert counsel or not – although, the outcome of the case might give them a hint.

Pasquale concludes his paper by asserting that “the rule of law entails a system of social relationships and legitimate governance, not simply the transfer and evaluation of information about behavior.” This is closely related to the doubts expressed at the beginning of the piece about the usefulness of data sets in training legal AI. He then states that those in the legal profession must handle “intractable conflicts of values that repeatedly require thoughtful discretion and negotiation.” This appears to be the legal equivalent of epistemological mysterianism. It stands on still shakier ground than its analogue because it is clear that laws are, or should be, rooted in some set of criteria agreed upon by the members of a given jurisdiction. Shouldn’t the rulings of law makers and the values that inform them be at least partially quantifiable? There are efforts, like EthicsNet, which are trying to prepare datasets and criteria to feed machines in the future (because they will certainly have to be fed by someone!).  There is no doubt that the human touch in law will not be supplanted soon, but the question is whether our intuition should be exalted as guarantee of fairness or a hindrance to moving beyond a legal system bogged down by the baggage of human foibles.

Adam Alonzi is a writer, biotechnologist, documentary maker, futurist, inventor, programmer, and author of the novels A Plank in Reason and Praying for Death: A Zombie Apocalypse. He is an analyst for the Millennium Project, the Head Media Director for BioViva Sciences, and Editor-in-Chief of Radical Science News. Listen to his podcasts here. Read his blog here.